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Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Creating Learning Accounts: Places to Deposit, Transfer, and Withdraw

As I read my Twitter feed today, I was struck by multiple valuable ideas. I knew I would lose sight of those ideas if I didn't deposit them in a good place right away--a place I could return too. I was very good about this a while ago as I would quickly deposit the new ideas into related websites thus making it easy for me to retrieve the ideas as I grew my practice. But now, those accounts are a bit outdated, and it's time to create new learning accounts--accounts with which I can deposit information, easily transfer that information to others, and withdraw for projects and teaching as needed.

Specifically two items prompted me to re-think the accounts I have and the accounts I've made. The first was the visual to the right about visual literacy--a visual that supports the inclusion of lots and lots of visuals and model making in the math classroom. The second is Jo Boaler's recent TedTalk--a talk that supports modern day math learning and teaching. I didn't want to lose sight of either of those pieces of valuable media I will likely share with students, families, and colleagues as I continue to develop my practice of teaching math well. So today, I quickly created a new Google site, Teach Math Well, and deposited those items into the site for ready retrieval. In the next few months, I'll transfer many items from my Magnificent Math Website to Teach Math Well. As I transfer, I'll think about how students, family members, and colleagues near and far might best access and use the pages, and I'll think about the ways the math classroom has developed over the past few years since I first created the Magnificent Math Website.

The rapid-fire pace of new information and information share today, demands that we think differently about the way we access, save, and utilize resources. I believe it's best to begin with your essential questions--what is it that you want to learn. Then with those questions in mind, it's important to set up learning accounts. The best vehicle for those accounts, in my opinion, are well organized and easily accessible cloud-based websites. Then when you see an article, image, video, or other resource that will be advantageous to your area of essential questioning, you can quickly add that resource to the website. After that, as you reflect, plan, and process your essential question, you can access retrieve and transfer the information in ways that matter.

To illustrate this point with greater detail, a few days ago it was the opportune time to share the Boaler video, yet I couldn't find it amongst all the emails and share I had. I looked and looked, and finally found it. Now since I placed it on the Teach Math Well website, I will be able to retrieve whenever I think it's best used.

Next steps in the learning account process include the following:
  • Thinking carefully about the essential questions that currently and in the future will lead my professional work.
  • Creating new websites or revising old ones to better fit those website accounts.
  • Thinking carefully about how I harvest information--what routines lead to positive information acquisition, and thinking also about the patterns of weeding, pruning, and utilizing that information for best effect.
  • Thinking about how we guide students to determining their essential questions, creating information accounts, using those accounts, and developing their learning practice. This work will have a developmental curve, and I can truly imagine high school students using this process very well while elementary students will use the process in ways that fit where they are on the learning trajectory.
What would you add to this discussion? How do you create learning accounts? In what ways do these accounts reflect your work related to the essential questions that lead your practice? I'd like to grow this idea and look forward to your share.