Reimagining Professional Learning: Where can we go from here?

In this edition of the Roundtable, host Tim Cavey connects with educators who are passionate about improving the shape of professional learning: Mark Ryan, Vince Bustamante, Min Suh, Kate Stevens, and Jeffery Frieden. We discuss best practices for most powerful professional learning, asynchronous tools, how to capture in-house expertise, gamification, and more.

Select any of the timestamps listed below to jump to specific portions of the discussion. ⬇️

Questions and Timestamps from This Conversation

  • 0:26 – Meeting the panel: who are you and what is your CURRENT CONTEXT in education?
  • 2:11 – What was one feature of some of the BEST professional development that you’ve experienced?
  • 7:01 – “This meeting could have been an email.” What are some ASYNCHRONOUS tools and strategies that might make professional learning more efficient and valuable?
  • 14:41 – How can asynchronous tools also redefine FACULTY MEETING TIMES in order to do less administrivia and more professional learning?
  • 23:31 – Does GAMIFICATION belong in professional development? Can points, badges, or competitions improve engagement, motivation, or learning for professionals?
  • 33:57 – How can schools and districts to a better job of leveraging IN-HOUSE expertise and resources? What can this look like?
  • 50:31 – What is one PROJECT that you’re working on right now?
  • 55:15 – What are the best ways to CONNECT and continue to learn with you?

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As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific/11:00 a.m. Eastern. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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Mike Washburn: Minecraft, Livestreaming, and Reimagined Professional Learning

Who is Mike Washburn?

MIKE WASHBURN is a Microsoft in Education expert, the Director of Engagement at @Participate, co-host of the fabulous @OnEducationPod, and the co-founder of the @OnPodcastMedia podcast network. When you visit Mike’s website you encounter this phrase: Passionately Educating, Constantly Learning – and that really summarizes Mike’s whole attitude and approach to education.

Questions, Topics, and YouTube Timestamps

  • 7:40 – It’s story time! Please share with us about a low moment or an experience of adversity that you’ve faced in your teaching or education career, and describe how you overcame it.
  • 16:39 – Congratulations on your new position at Participate! Can you talk about the mission and vision of Participate and describe your role in moving that forward?
  • 23:05 – Another fun project that you’ve been working on lately is the official podcast for Minecraft Education. Tell us what you love about the Minecraft platform and the opportunities that it presents learners.
  • 32:47 – One of the reasons I love OnEducation is that you and Glen don’t run your thoughts through any sort of political filter. You tell it like it is, and sometimes that means holding politicians, education companies, textbooks, or personalities to the fire. In the age of political correctness where just about the worst thing we can do is offend another person or educator, talk about the importance of bringing critical thinking to the education conversation.
  • 38:53 – As you look across your PLN and your own practice, what else is setting you ON FIRE about education today?
  • 41:24 – Where do you see professional learning moving and evolving in the years to come?
  • 44:43 – Outside of education, what’s another area of learning for you? What is it that ignites your passions outside of the classroom and brings you alive as a human being? Tell us why this area interests you and why you enjoy it.
  • 47:07 – Share about one personal habit or productivity hack that contributes to your success.

Voices and Resources That Spark Mike’s Thinking

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Roots of Legend by Density & Time
  • Memory Rain by Yung Logos
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

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Elena Aguilar: Coaching, Equity, and Resilience

Meet Elena Aguilar

ELENA AGUILAR is an accomplished educational presenter, speaker, and author. She strives to help leaders learn, be their best selves, and serve students well. In 2018, Elena published Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators, and in 2020 she released Coaching for Equity: Conversations That Change Practice.

Questions That Guided Our Conversation

1:15 – Why don’t you start by telling us a little more about your current context in education?

2:27 – First things first: how are you doing right now? How are you handling the home quarantine and social distancing?

4:37 – It’s story time! Please share with us about a low moment or an experience of adversity that you’ve faced in your teaching or education career, and describe how you overcame it.

08:48 – In 2018, you published Onward: Cultivating Emotional Resilience in Educators. This seems like an especially timely focus today, with educators everywhere having to reinvent their practice and respond to challenges on a variety of levels. What are some pieces of wisdom and insight that you could share from your book that might provide educators with some hope and encouragement during a very challenging time in our schools?

15:00 – Let’s talk about your most recent work, a book called Coaching for Equity: Conversations That Change Practice. What was the mission and vision of this book? Who is it aimed at, and what would you like educators to take away from it?

18:46 – If you could offer one practical strategy or bit of advice to educators around the challenges of building equity, what would that be?

21:24 – How are you looking to grow professionally and improve your practice right now? Can you share about a specific professional goal or project that you’re currently working on?

22:41 – Outside of education, what’s another area of learning for you? What is it that ignites your passions outside of the classroom and brings you alive as a human being? Tell us why this area interests you and why you enjoy it.

23:39 – When it comes to writing, are you the sort of structured or disciplined writers that follows the same writing time each day?

Voices That Spark Elena’s Thinking

Connect with Elena

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Species by Diamond Ortiz
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Listen to Teachers on Fire on YouTube and Subscribe

Evo Hannan: Agency, Innovation, and Inspiration

Meet Evo Hannan

EVO HANNAN is an educator, education leader, freelance designer, and speaker in Dubai who is passionate about promoting confidence in students through innovation and agency. You’ll find him active on Twitter at the hashtags #Agents4Agency and #CrazyPLN.

Cancelled by COVID: Forced to Pivot

This interview was recorded on March 8, 2020, and Evo had just recently had to cancel his plans for his #Agents4Agency tour of the United States due to the appearance of COVID-19. He had been planning in-person professional development sessions for New York City, Houston, and San Francisco, and four and a half months of work had gone into their preparation.

It was absolutely heartbreaking to cancel these events, but as the pandemic started to make its appearance in North America, people’s health and safety took first priority. Rather than completely give up, however, he began the difficult task of pivoting these events into virtual settings.

“I’ve built up a little bit of resilience over the past decade or so with some of the crazy ideas I’ve come up with,” Evo admits. When it comes to go big or go home, he generally never goes home.

Advocating for Growth: the Work of The Agency

At the core of Evo’s #Agents4Agency movement is the idea that teachers reflect on their own practice and pedagogy first before they start to implement and promote student agency. Agency doesn’t only come from students, Evo points out. As educators, we are the facilitators that can help to elevate their voices. Find out more about The Agency and join the movement at Evo’s website.

The Four Pillars of Innovation

Evo is passionate about innovation in education, and that passion has only grown in his years as a design teacher. His understanding of innovation is quite functional, and he sees it made up of four pillars: knowledge, creativity, characteristics, and culture.

Innovation is his heartbeat for education, he says, and the idea of student agency flows naturally from there. Voices that influence Evo’s thoughts on innovation include Tony Wagner, Craig Kemp, Adam Hill, Kieran Kelly, Steve Bambury, and others. 

Building Movements That Inspire Change and Transformation in Education

Vehicles like InnovationX and Agents for Agency allow me to directly connect with people on an interactive level,” Evo shares.

Even with the appearance of COVID-19, Evo is committed to growing these movements and continuing to learn and gain inspiration from the like-minded educators who join forces in the process. His goal is to inspire as many educators as possible and provide them with the tools to help them inspire students to become the innovators of tomorrow.

An Expression of Personal Passion: Project Decade

“I’ve always been quite a positive person,” Evo says. It’s been in the last year or so that some of Evo’s friends have encouraged him to channel those passions into efforts that motivate positive change and transformation in the lives of others, and that’s what motivates him today.

Project Decade is one expression of those efforts. On his Instagram account, he shares daily inspiration and thoughts around inspiration, passion, places, and people. If we can stay in touch with those four on a daily level, Eve suggests, we’ll continue to find ourselves and live positive lives.

Finding Productivity in Ways That Work for You

Evo is quick to admit that his daily routine is not the healthiest: he knows he needs to get to bed earlier and eat more intentionally. Some of the traditionally rigid advice about productivity and time management hasn’t worked for him, he says, but one thing he has found reliable is to work as and when he wants to.

If that means sitting with his wife with both of their laptops open and Netflix on the TV, then so be it. No, it may not be the highest level of productivity on the planet, but it strikes a comfortable balance between having a life, being human, and chipping away at projects to the extent that he’s inclined to do so. 

Voices That Spark Evo’s Thinking and Ignite His Professional Practice

On Twitter, Evo shouts out the Lead Agents that have been so instrumental in supporting The Agency’s work in North America, including @KBahri5, @TheWrightLeader, @Support_A_Teach, @ChrisQuinn64, @BBray27, and many more. “These guys inspire me on a daily basis by the things they do and the suggestions they make both on and off Twitter,” Evo says.

The power to really move things forward in the classroom comes from collaboration, Evo says, and in that regard, nothing beats the edtech tools found in the G Suite (now Google Workspace), including the workflow and applications associated with Google Classroom.

When asked to recommend a book that was influential in his journey, Evo points to Screw It, Let’s Do It: 14 Lessons on Making It to the Top While Having Fun & Staying Green by Richard Branson.

When it comes to YouTube, Evo’s more of a searcher and surfer than a subscriber. But on Netflix, one of his recent favorites has been Drive to Survive, a series about Formula One racing. It’s a great place to learn about how people deal with success and failure at a very high level, Evo says. It gives some great perspective for the space you’re in, and it builds your growth mindset in the process.

We sign off on this international learning experience, and Evo gives us the best ways to connect with him and follow his work. See below for details!

Follow Evo

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Song Track Credits

  • Sunrise Drive by South London Hifi*
  • Anthem by The Grand Affair*
  • Coupe by The Grand Affair
  • Species by Diamond Ortiz
  • *tracks courtesy of the YouTube Audio Library

Listen to Teachers on Fire on YouTube and Subscribe

Roundtable: Seesaw + Google Classroom Integration

On Saturday, October 31, 2020, I joined Alicia and Matt Rhoads, Alfonso Mendoza, and Taylor Armstrong to discuss best practices, tips, and strategies for effective Seesaw and Google Classroom integration. Here is our conversation.

Questions That Guided Our Discussion

  • 1:24 – Who are you and what is your context in education right now?
  • 4:19 – What is there to like about Google Classroom as a learning management system?
  • 8:45 – How can students split their Chromebook screen to see Classroom and Seesaw side by side?
  • 11:46 – What is there to like about Seesaw as a learning management system?
  • 19:06 – How can we use Seesaw in 4th and 5th grade classrooms? (Alicia shares her screen.)
  • 28:07 – Matt and Alicia, how did you each convince your partners of the value of the other platform? (Matt shares how he came to use Seesaw at the secondary level while Alicia share how she came to use Google Classroom at the 4th and 5th grade levels.)
  • 30:53 – What other strategies or hacks would you share with teachers looking to integrate these two platforms strategically? (Alfonso says “Get clicky with it.”)
  • 38:15 – Why and how can Seesaw be used effectively at the secondary level?
  • 41:11 – How can intermediate and middle school teachers make the best use of Seesaw?
  • 44:33 – How can we use Seesaw analytics to make sure every student is socially and emotionally supported?
  • 46:55 – How many Seesaw activities should be pushed out to the Seesaw blog?
  • 48:29 – How can viewers connect with you and continue to partner with you in their learning?

With Thanks to the Guests Featured in This Roundtable

Catch the Next Teachers on Fire Roundtable LIVE

As of this post, I’m still appearing weekly on YouTubeFacebook, and Twitter at 8:00 a.m. Pacific Time/11:00 a.m. Eastern Time. I’d love to see you join us and would be happy to feature your questions and comments on the show!

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