To help spur the question of “Why?”, we’ve introduced Innovative Learning Grants. The central questions that we started with was “What is it that you want to do at but currently can’t?” and “How will this improve student learning and/or teacher pedagogy?” The idea is that teachers submit a proposal documenting their interest and also noting some of the research that they have done on the topic. Once proposals have been selected to go forward, the teachers are responsible for documenting their work and submitting a written report at the end of their trial period. This report includes feedback on the outcome of the project as well as suggestions for scaling the project up to go beyond their individual trial. From this, decisions can be made about going forward. It is my hope that all of this – all grant proposals and the final reports/recommendations of the ‘winning’ projects – will be published to the entire community as examples of how UNIS is looking at staying on the cutting edge when it comes to learning. In the first iteration, we received a quite a few grant proposals. I was amazed by the depth and breadth of the proposals that we received. In the end, we selected three to go forward. One is looking at the use of standing desks in the classroom. Another is looking how to adopt mobile technology into PE classes. And the third is looking increasing collaboration and lay through the use of a SMART Table in our Early Childhood classes. All trials will end before June and I’m looking forward to reading and sharing their final reports. [I will ask to see if any of the authors mind if I share their proposalLast week I started the first of five online courses for a Certificate in Educational Technology and Information Literacy, aka COETAIL. I’m really excited to be working towards an actual qualification in the educational area that I love so much! I’ve always loved the idea behind COETAIL but have never been able to sort out the logistical requirements of the course. Now that it is wholly and completely online, all of those problems are solved! (Now I just need to figure out how to send my university transcripts to SUNY Buffalo… but that’s another story!) I’m looking forward to working and learning with Jeff and the other members of my cohort over the next year or so. Don’t be surprised to see some cross-posting from my new COETAIL blog: Riding on my COETAILS! A quick note about the name: it was a very deliberate decision to use the term “Innovative Learning” and not mention “Technology” even though the funds are being put up by the Technology Office. As a school, our focus must continue to be on learning. Our focus on technology is not for the sake of having the shiniest bell or the newest whistle but to improve student learning. 99 times out of 100 Innovative Learning will involve the authentic use of technology, and by using the title “Innovative Learning Grant” we are keeping the emphasis where it belongs. UNIS Hanoi has had the good fortune of spending two day with Mark Church, one of the researchers and authors behind Project Zero’s Visible Thinking Project. We are actually just starting day two and I find myself with a few minutes to reflect back on the first day. The focus of the first day was less about Visible Thinking Routines and the Teacher for Understanding framework and more about discussing the need for making thinking visible and teaching for understanding. While they may seem obvious to any group of teachers (and who in their right minds would ever disagree with the need for teaching for understanding?), these concepts are sometime -------------------------------------------------
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