Live web streams from DL2014

We will be live-streaming three events from DL2014:

  • Wednesday, March 26 – 9:15 – 10:15 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Opening Session
  • Thursday, March 27 – 9:00 am – 10:00 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Keynote: Ron Berger, Expeditionary Learning & Polaris Students – UPDATE: This event will not be streamed live but instead will be posted to YouTube later in the day. Stay tuned for the link.
  • Friday, March 28 – 9:00 am – 10:00 am Pacific (Los Angeles) – Special Academic Mindsets panel

For those MOOCers who will be attending, we would like to invite you to an exclusive Academic Mindset Panel with Eduardo Briceño, Camille Farrington, and Carissa Romero. Come hear about their takeaways from the conference, and answer any unaddressed Academic Mindset questions.

Where:  Room 8 High Tech Middle
Time: 9:00 am – 10:00 am
Moderated by MOOC participant Aaron Maurer
Online here

Put it into Practice – Final reflections on DL

Credit: Daniel A D’Auria MD

Throughout DLMOOC, we’ve emphasized putting into practice the ideas we’ve talked about. In this final week of DLMOOC, choose one of these activities or make up your own.

  • On last week’s panel, Sonya Ramirez suggested these prompts for framing feedback for learning:
    “Once I thought…”
    “Then I saw…”
    “And now I see….”
    Complete these prompts as they relate to your understanding of deeper learning before and after DLMOOC.
  • Write a post (or make a video or create a poster or make something else) that shows how DLMOOC has affected your learning or your learning environment.
  • Choose a PIP from a previous week that you didn’t get a chance to do and do it now.
  • Share with the world your message about what deeper learning is and why it’s important. You can express this in text, images, video, a song, spoken word or some other way we haven’t thought of.
  • Write a short article about deeper learning in your own learning environment and submit it to the Deeper Learning Story Bank.
  • Think about how you might reuse, remix, or redistribute some of the DLMOOC content. It’s all open licensed and will be posted indefinitely, so spread the love!
  • Think about how you’ll leverage the connections you’ve made in DLMOOC into the future. Are there people you want to stay in touch with on Twitter or G+? Might you try doing your own Google hangout? Are there Twitter chats you might join?
  • Any of the work above would great to submit for a DL badge.

We look forward to sharing our reflections on DLMOOC and deeper learning.

Deeper professional learning

(This is a guest post from DLMOOC participant, Emma Scott, Senior Project Officer, Learning Frontiers, Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership.)

LF logo

The Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL) has initiated a project focused on deepening student engagement in learning, supported by the Innovation Unit (UK).

We know that education must equip all young people with the knowledge, understanding, skills and values they need to achieve and be successful. But it should also instil the desire, skills and capacities to learn continuously, so every young person can take advantage of opportunities and face today’s (and tomorrow’s) challenges with confidence.
If successful learners are lifelong learners who are involved in and take responsibility for their learning, then our task is to create an education system that ensures all young Australians are deeply engaged in learning – at school, and throughout their lives.

Learning Frontiers is a collaborative initiative created to transform learning so that every learner succeeds in an education worth having. AITSL’s vision for Learning Frontiers is that all young Australians emerge from school as curious, creative, confident and engaged lifelong learners.

The project will bring together clusters of schools and other interested parties – ‘design hubs’ – to develop professional practices that increase student engagement in learning, alongside tools and resources to support the scaling and diffusion of new practices outside of the hub.

Design hubs will use a range of methodologies to explore teaching, learning and assessment practices that are built upon four design principles. These principles assert that when learning is highly engaging it is…


The initiative is:

  • A large scale collaborative enquiry, drawing on the collective wisdom, experience, ambition and imagination of participants to develop professional practice that increases students’ engagement in learning. Teachers themselves will construct the new knowledge the education community needs to move the professional practice of every Australian teacher forward.
  • High quality professional learning for participants in and out of design hubs who, as individuals and in groups, are likely to reconfigure their practice – leadership and pedagogic – iteratively and over time as they observe the benefits of students’ increased engagement in learning. Teachers will learn from each other, from experts and others deeply interested in learning that engages learners behaviourally, emotionally and cognitively.
  • A system level intervention, explicitly intended to stimulate the growth of new relationships between schools, and between schools and new partners: families, communities, for- and non-profit organisations and public services amongst others. These new arrangements – design hubs – are geared to and formed for the purpose of increasing students’ engagement in learning, for instance by extending learning environments and opportunities beyond the classroom, and for connecting in-school learning with the outside, ‘real world’, of students’ lives.
  • A scaling and diffusion program, designed to enable professional practice that increases student engagement in learning to spread beyond the design hub where the practice originates, to benefit students in developer schools; students whose schools are not taking part; and even students who don’t go to school at all.

Today, education systems face immense challenges, but the opportunities, tools, and potential partners exceed anything we have encountered in the past. Excellence in professional practice and an education ecosystem that collaborates, learns together and supports each other to expand and develop is our ambitious aspiration.

If you would like to know more about Learning Frontiers you can…


Put it Into Practice – Exhibiting student work

(a post from Lou Barrios, 8th grade math and science teacher, HTMMA)

This week’s “Put it into Practice” can be done with other teachers, with your students, or on your own.

I often struggled with what to do with the project once the students exhibited their work. The truth is that while I was really thoughtful about a lot that went on in the project, I was not nearly as thoughtful about how the project would live on.  I was moved to action after speaking to Jeff, a colleague from our high school who once told me a story that was quite piercing. He was watching a teacher from his school throw away all of his students’ work the day after exhibition, and he asked why do the project if it was going to end up in the dumpster. Now, I at least have the decency to store the project in cupboards and shelves for a month or so before throwing them away.  Anyway, the point is that students should have a place to see their products after all the sweat and tears have dried. Being transparent and upfront about displaying the end product makes it so students are that much more precise about the work they are doing.

Jeff Robin is an Art Teacher at High Tech High who does amazing work with curating projects, and he breaks down project curating quite well in this video.

Curating a project is not too unlike decorating a room. So, you want to add mirrors to make the room look bigger and not break the bank? Great! Just make sure when you bring them home from Ikea that they are the same color, evenly space them, level them, and they will look really nice. Symmetry, consistency and simplicity are beautiful things AND they don’t cost too much OR take too much time.

I am planning on stopping by Ikea on the way home to grab these $2 frames.

I like 8.5” by 11” because it’s so easy to put up student work without the hassle of cutting.  I also likes these frames because they can be held up by push pins, which makes it less difficult for students to put them up. I will go over how many frames we need per row and let my students do the measuring and spacing. It won’t be perfect; the first few times they put it up, but they will get to the point where they are all evenly spaced and level. This gives them another level of accountability and ownership over their school space and keeps this from being another thing on a busy teacher’s plate.

Action Items:

  1. Find a place in your classroom or school that could house student work.
  2. Ask your students what work they would be most proud of hanging up.
  3. Ask staff about creating a space where school-wide student work could live (sometimes 3D work needs more of a permanent space).
  4. Give students ownership over how the work is displayed
  5. Share some before and after pictures with the DLMOOC community through G+ or Twitter.

Week 7 – Lens into the Classroom

This week’s “Lens into the Classroom” session features Jennifer Pieratt Ph.D., a current School Development Coach for the New Tech Network of schools. She works with schools in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Texas at various stages of development including start up, school turnaround and district extension. A former High School humanities teacher at High Tech High North County, Jenny received her PhD in education-her research focused on teacher-student relationships in PBL.

New Tech Network (NTN) works nationwide with schools, districts and communities to develop innovative public schools. They provide services and support that enable schools to fundamentally rethink teaching and learning. Their goal is to enable students to gain the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in life, college and the careers of tomorrow. They have 130 + schools and focus on teaching that engages, technology that enables, and school culture that promotes trust, respect, and responsibility.

NTN focus on five school-wide learning outcomes, with corresponding assessments created by SCALE at Stanford, and inspired by Envision. They are (see example rubrics below):

  • Oral communication
  • Written communication
  • Collaboration
  • Knowledge and Thinking
  • Agency

Jenny’s question is:

How can I leverage the NTN collaboration rubric to help promote deeper learning in teacher’s classrooms?

Here are a few of NTN’s collaboration rubrics:

Here is a sampling of some other rubrics NTN that uses:

Here are slides we are using in this session:

Panel on assessing deeper learning

We had a great panel discussion about assessment and deeper learning today. The archive is below, and here are links to some of the resources that were mentioned:

Archive of panel:

Put it into Practice – Assessing deeper learning

This week’s “Put It Into Practice” can be done on your own, but it is also a great collaborative activity, especially for content group meetings. The goal is to take existing assessment questions and rewrite them at a higher level of thinking using Benjamin Bloom’s Taxonomy and/or Arthur Costa’s Levels of Questioning. You can also move in the opposite direction and rewrite higher level questions at lower levels. The example below comes from a recent middle school math department meeting, but the exercise will work for any content area.

Bloom’s Taxonomy – A helpful infographic that organizes the different levels in an intuitive and aesthetically pleasing way. Bloom’s taxonomy divides educational objectives into three “domains:” cognitive, affective, and psychomotor (sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head,” “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively). The inner and outer circles connect verbs for learning objectives with matching assessment types.

Credit: K. Aainsqatsi

Credit: K. Aainsqatsi

Costa’s Three Levels of Questioning (adapted from Noelle Combs); CC BY SA)- This table aligns Costa’s Levels with Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Rewriting math questions at a higher level – An example of a math department’s recent attempt of this exercise.

Lens into the Classroom – Academic mindsets

For this week’s Lens session (Thurs., Feb. 27 at 4pm Pacific), we’ll be doing a protocol with Matt Strand and Kevin Denton from the Polaris Expeditionary Learning School in Fort Collins, CO.  Polaris is a public (non-charter) “school of choice” in the Poudre School District that works in partnership with Expeditionary Learning to provide a unique and rigorous education for all students.

Their dilemma is: How do you explicitly teach academic mindsets and make it meaningful and authentic for students?

Here is some background on these teachers and their classrooms:

Matt Strand recently earned his PhD in Educational Leadership at Colorado State University while continuing to teach at Polaris.  He has taught 7th/8th Grade English in this Expeditionary Learning School for 13 years.  His students’ work has been featured in Expeditionary Learning’s Center for Student Work (example here), and his use of experts to engage Polaris students in compelling topics was featured in the September, 2010 issue of Educational Leadership.

Matt is finding the use of academic mindsets to be a powerful way to help students take more ownership of their learning.  Although he and his colleagues practice many approaches, two specific strategies he uses are self-assessment and peer critique.

Songwriting daily progress

Self-assessment involves students assessing and monitoring their progress on a project, level of sophistication with a skill or concept, or perception of effort on a task.  These assessments tend to be displayed briefly in the classroom but are anonymous to foster a sense of safety and honest reflection.  Their interpretations are not recorded in a gradebook or used to determine a final grade.  Self-assessment is meant to be a reflective strategy that helps students evaluate their learning and/or effort, make their progress in relation to their peers’ work more transparent, and clarify their next steps.  Self-assessment helps Matt get a sense of classroom trends and needs so he can adjust the instructional design and necessary scaffolding; when compared with other evidence of learning such as student writing or performance on formal and informal assessments, Matt also gains a clearer perspective of how well his students understand their learning targets. Self-assessment is therefore a reflection, progress monitoring, and goal-setting tool for both students and the teacher.

Peer critique for character maps

Peer critique for character maps

Peer critique is another powerful tool that can promote academic mindsets such as sense of belonging and beliefs about efficacy and growth (example here).  However, a general sense of emotional safety and careful scaffolding are prerequisites for this type of approach.  Matt has been a long time admirer of Ron Berger’s work, particularly his masterful facilitation of critique sessions.  Matt explicitly teaches students how to be kind, specific, and helpful when giving feedback to a peer.  He also helps students learn to evaluate a given learning target effectively by having them practice using strong and weak examples of work that model a specific criteria.  Sometimes these samples are anonymous student work; other times, Matt creates his own excerpts to illuminate high quality examples and common errors or pitfalls.  After practicing with these examples, students exchange work with a partner, assessing the work for the same criteria.  They use a short student-friendly rubric to give their own assessment.  They also jot down specific strengths and suggestions for improvement.  Matt is careful to coach students on this step, finding that it may take more than one experience with critique to provide written feedback that is truly kind, specific, and helpful.  Again, student assessments are not recorded in the gradebook and do not have direct bearing on a final grade.  Rather, peer critique is an act of service, a process that helps both the author of the work and the reviewer gain a more sophisticated understanding of quality work.

Self-assessment and peer critique help Matt bring academic content, instructional design, and academic mindsets together in his classroom.  But he also understands that his own learning with these approaches is never complete.  To this day, he continues to experiment and explore ways to engage students in deeper learning about content, skills, a healthy classroom community, and academic mindsets.

Kevin recently earned his M.S. in Instructional Design and technology and teaches primarily science and math content currently.  He has been a part of think tanks on academic mindsets with Camille Farrington, Eduardo Briceño, Ron Berger, Fund for Teachers and others in the past.  He and Matt recently presented a class on using peer critique to grow student mindsets at the Expeditionary Learning national conference in Atlanta.

Kevin admittedly started his journey with mindset work in the classroom after seeing much of what Matt was experimenting with in his English classroom.  Matt’s use of tangible protocols and strategies to have students reflect on theirs and their peer’s ability to hit learning targets was inspiring.  Making student progress visual as a part of the self-reflection process was particularly intriguing.

Kevin began experimenting himself with peer critique in the science classroom, but has focused the majority of his work in CREW–an academic advisory period.  Taking a familiar, but often ineffectively implemented strategy like goal-setting, Kevin sought to make this a more meaningful system. By providing frequent (weekly) and specific feedback on student academic goals he hoped to coach students on what it means to make goals that result in action and results, which in turn would impact their academic mindset about the possibility for improvement in many aspects of their life.  Additional feedback on consistent growth-mindset messaging (as opposed to fixed) was provided to help students begin to use this messaging in future goal setting and other opportunities to choose a growth mindset over a fixed one.

Here are some student work examples of goal setting toward academic mindsets:

Here is a video of some students talking about mindsets:

This is Polaris Expeditionary Learning School’s Academic Mindset Reflection Survey given to students to reflect before (and during) student-led conferences.

Here are the slides that we’ll be using for the protocol discussion:


Put it Into Practice – Academic Mindsets

This week we are focusing on academic mindsets, and our friends at PERTS have created a survey to help assess your student’s mindsets.  Make sure you watch the screencast below to see how to administer the survey.


We have also forged a new relationship with Zaption to find new ways to share and interact with our videos. Share these videos about academic mindsets and have  discussions about them.

DL badges are here!

We are very excited to announce the availability of two new deeper learning badges:Badge1
Deeper Learner

Deeper Learning Guide

You can click the links above to apply for these badges. All you have to do is submit a link to some work that shows that you experienced deeper learning through DLMOOC or that shows you helped others experience deeper learning.

Once you’ve earned a badge, you’ll be an “expert” who can review others’ submissions for the same badge. This is a model that can help connect people and build community. And after you’ve earned a badge, you can put it into your open badge backpack.

For those interested in more on badges, they are a way to represent and recognize a skill you’ve learned. Open badges, like the one’s we’ve created here, are not proprietary and are linked to some representation of work you’ve done (e.g. a blog post or a link to posts you’ve made in G+) that demonstrates the skill (e.g. deeper learning). In this way, they can be more useful than a transcript or resume, because employers or others can actually see the work that represents your skills.

And if you’d like to experiment with badges in your own learning environment, the P2PU badge creator makes it easy. I had a great time with some students last summer during which they created their own badges. (More info here.) They started by deciding what skills were really important to document. Then they defined the criteria for earning badges in the areas of their choice. Finally, they submitted and reviewed each others’ work. It was a powerful experience.