January 8

Weather or Not

This week’s NWP iAnthology challenge, presented by Kim Douillard, is to think of #weather and how it impacts our photography. As one who is living in the Midwest (Chicago suburbs), weather this time of year can be pretty severe and bleak. As it is today:

I went out this afternoon to look for interesting shots of this prairie country I’ve lived in for sixteen years, and which will never be “home.” It’s too flat and boring for my liking; give me mountains and oceans any day.

One thing I have observed, having lived in a variety of climates, is that the sky is what most helps identify which season we are in. The ones below were all taken mid-afternoon, with #nofilter. The sun is already making a descent. There is a certain chill to the shades of blue.

For the past six months or so, I have made a concerted effort to relish, rather than complain about the weather. Especially since I really, really hate winter. Today’s photography exercise helped me see some of the beauty of this stark time of year. It reminded me of a recent New York Times travel article entitled “David Foster Wallace’s Peaceful Prairie,” which describes Foster Wallace’s enjoyment of the Illinois prairie country. The article quotes from the opening paragraph of Foster Wallace’s posthumously-published novel The Pale King, “Ale-colored sunshine and pale sky and whorls of cirrus so high they cast no shadow.” The sun was more lemonade than ale today, but the big sky was certainly there.

 

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January 1

#clmooc #2016bestnine photo review

To wrap up 2016, Kim Douillard challenged the #clmooc community to curate #2016bestnine photos. I’m not an avid Instagram user, so the collage the app created (below) was collected from a small selection of the photos I took this year. My phone also exploded this fall, so I lost a bunch of photos, including the Mt Hood shot.

Nonetheless, Instagram and I agree on some of the themes I explored during the year. As part of the #clmooc #silentsunday thread, I look for subjects that represent my surroundings and my interests.

The first photo (collage) I chose is of my son tipping off at a basketball game. He played competitive travel basketball for five years, and this summer decided to abandon the sport. Part of me still grieves, because he is a talented player, and I feel like he is walking away from something which has much to offer him, and to which he has much to offer. I also developed friendships with many of the other parents, and think the loss of those hours sitting on bleachers in solidarity with them is what I miss most.

This next shot grosses some people out :-). An orb spider in his/her domain. Spiders creep me out as well, but nonetheless they are magnificent beings, and (as Ms. Frizzle informs us all) beneficial for eradicating other insects.

I love the defiance of this leaf, standing up in the grass.

These next two were taken this fall, in the same area. I love the symmetry of the two paragliders, and the study in light and shadows and reflections.


After a glorious, mild autumn, we were abruptly shocked into winter with the first snow. The accumulation of heavy, wet snow provides a magnificent frame for the tree branches and decorative crab apples.

Perhaps my favorite shot of the year is this self-portrait taken as a fluke. In this blog post, I describe the circumstances, and the subsequent analysis and connections related to it.

To cap it off, I selected these two shots of lights. The first is soft, the glow of candles in a darkened room. The second is more dramatic, part of a light and sound show presented by the Morton Arboretum in the Chicago area.

  

Thanks, Kim for inciting me to think about the photos I took this year, and what they mean to me.

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November 29

2016 #CLMOOC #DigiWrimo #AltCV

As I mused about creating this season’s #AltCV, a recent interaction with #CLMOOC friend Stephanie Loomis came to mind. She was wrapping up a project related to social media profile pictures (you’ll have to ask her for the details!) and messaged me with some questions. She asked me for my interpretation of the following Facebook profile picture:

farm-profile-picture

To which I responded:

stephanie-2

I hadn’t consciously analyzed the photo before posting it as my profile picture. However, when Stephanie asked me what it represented, I came up with my description easily, with very little thought. So, the analysis and interpretation were already there, just at a subconscious level.

I was also somewhat astounded by the similarities in Stephanie’s interpretation:

stephanie-3

She and I “know” each other only in virtual spaces. The photo spoke for itself.

As Stephanie and I chatted further, we explored the blurring of lines between “professional” and “personal” identities:

stephanie-1

stephanie-4

In reality, our professional and personal lives co-existed before social media. The difference was that on our resumes, and in presenting our “professional face,” we emphasized our skills and experience vis-à-vis the position we held, or wished to hold. We downplayed our personal lives, only divulging details to our closest colleagues.

Given we are holistic beings, this new era of transparency is refreshing. When we fracture ourselves into multiple personalities (Sybil anyone?), we are inauthentic. So here I stand. Strong, hopeful, and as documented in this 2014 #CLMOOC avatar, a warrior.

warrior-avatar

June 14

The Summer of Our Never-Ending Heat

I recently wrote about design thinking as demonstrated by a landscaping company. In another home-ownership scenario, I recently experienced what happens when there is a lack of systems  thinking, a close relative to design thinking.

Air condittioning image

When we turned our air conditioner on this year, the thermostat displayed a “call for service” message. Which we did, reaching out to a company that has done annual check-ups on both our furnace and air conditioner for several years.

The first technician who showed up, let’s call him Joe, followed typical steps. He looked at the thermostat, the central HVAC unit, and then proceeded outside to the air conditioner condenser unit. After a time, I observed him on the phone, where he stayed for a LONG time. After about two hours of effort, Joe informed us the circuit board to the condenser was faulty, and that he would need to order a new one.

His company then informed us they wanted to send a more experienced technician out, to make sure the point(s) of failure were correctly identified. The second technician, let’s call him Ethan, followed essentially the same steps as Joe, including the long telephone conversation. He then informed me that there were two possible points of failure, either the compressor or a blockage in the coolant line. He said he had been on the phone with the manufacturer, who had walked him through the diagnostic process. Furthermore, Ethan said, it was a unit that is rare in the industry, and quite frankly he thought we should use the manufacturer’s service people.

Summer is upon us, and still no air conditioning.

A phone call to a local service office for the manufacturer. A third technician, shall we call him Donovan. Same protocol as the other two. Donovan concludes it is the compressor that is faulty. His company orders one…

A week-long wait, and technician number four, whom we shall call André, proudly arrives with the compressor, installs it, then tests the system. It fails. André concludes the remaining failure is in the circuit board (remember what Joe had to say?), and his company orders one.

Summer is more fervently upon us, and still no air conditioning.

Harvey, technician number five, arrives bearing the circuit board. He cheerfully installs it, and turns the unit on. And promptly burns out the brand-new circuit board. Because the harness between the compressor and the circuit board is faulty.

Summer is hotter. Still no air conditioning.

Now, I know nothing about air conditioning units, and have only a conceptual understanding of the electrical side of things. So, I invite those of you who are savvy about the details to enlighten me. If my thinking is faulty in what I say in the rest of this post, call me on it!

Let’s ignore the process(es) Joe, Ethan and Donovan followed, and start with André. He has just installed a brand-new compressor. He has furthermore diagnosed a problem in an electrical component within the same overall system. Does it not make sense that he would want to ensure no other components have failures?

Air conditioning schematic

A systems thinking approach would have looked at “how the thing being studied interacts with the other constituents of the system.”

We all live and work within systems. Families, neighborhoods, professional communities, etc. As an educator, my teaching/learning environment is a system.

Our students also exist in a variety of systems, one of the most important being their school system. As the Waters Foundation states:

“It is a growing priority to encourage educators to develop and apply their own systems thinking capacity to teaching and learning. Our future depends on the preparation efforts of today. Children will need to have the skills and knowledge necessary to manage the complex problems they will ultimately inherit.”

In part two, I’ll explore systems and design thinking in a PBL environment.

Oh, yeah, when Harvey returned with (another) circuit board and a  new harness and installed them… the air conditioning system worked. Hurrah!

May 11

Landscapes

Recently, we initiated a landscaping project at our house. It consisted of adding some hardscape, a few new plants, and rearranging some existing plants. As I observed the process in motion, it spoke to me as an exemplar of what we should implement in our classrooms and schools.

When the owner/operator of the landscaping company, Mr. M,  first came to assess the work we wanted done, he asked many questions. We hammered out a rough idea of what we wanted, both hard and soft scape. He showed us samples of different stones, and we chose one. This is similar to the design process of a good inquiry- design- or project-based undertaking. I appreciate both the Stanford d.school and IDEO methodologies regarding design thinking. Although the vernacular varies somewhat between the various definitions, the underlying principles remain constant.

Stone Wall

Stone wall by David R Tribble is licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Throughout the implementation process, Mr. M confirmed details with me such as the pattern the stones were to be set in. He adjusted his plan accordingly. This exemplifies the iterative process of design thinking, wherein one develops a prototype or first draft, then refines it, often multiple times, based on testing and feedback.

When Mr. M presented a written quote for the work to be done, we were prepared to negotiate with him, to find ways to reduce the price or increase the services rendered, or both. However, the quote was so reasonable and comprehensive, we found it unnecessary to negotiate. This conveyed to me his authenticity. Mr. M portrayed who he is – a competent landscaper who is proud of his work and provides his services at a fair price.

Authenticity is a characteristic gaining traction in many arenas, including education. As Sam Seidel phrases it, we need to  “keep it real.” In order for students to fully engage with a topic, they need to connect with it in some way. Talking about dry, dusty dates from the past is not real, nor is an out-of-context math formula. However, comparing Andrew Jackson with Donald Trump leads to student connection. Similarly, building a greenhouse makes those math formulas very real.

York U Greenhouse

York U Greenhouse by Raysonho is licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported

Mr. M also portrayed his identity through his branding. Each of the numerous trucks that came and went had identical signage on their sides. The signs included the company name, a list of services, and contact information. What is our “brand,” our culture? BIE’s John Larmer, in this article cites a definition of culture as “the set of shared attitudes, values, goals, and practices that characterizes an institution or organization.” The more clarity we have in our definition, and the more closely we align our practices with the definition, the more our culture flourishes.

The interactions of the landscaping team were also telling of the climate in which they work. I could not understand most of the words of their conversations, but could nonetheless interpret the temperament of the group:

  1. The majority of the time, Mr. M was present and worked alongside his men. Not a “sage on the stage,” but a “guide on the side.” In this Edutopia article about this methodological shift, Dan Jones states “[w]hen teachers move from the front of the room to working beside students, students begin to take a deeper ownership of the learning process and produce a meaningful connection with the material.”
  2. The men laughed, joked, and chatted with good humor. I never heard a voice raised in anger or impatience. The group was varied in age, and probably in experience, but they functioned as a collaborative team. As Aaron Brengard states in this BIE article, “[c]ollaboration is an essential part of our culture… it raises up the quality of all work.” He further discusses the importance of collaboration not only within student teams, but among the adults in schools, and how “[w]e believe that working together makes us better and without one another we will not reach the level of work that brings us closer to exceeding our expectations.”
  3. Each person seemed to know the tasks they were to complete, and tackled them with industry and enthusiasm. When there was a question, it was answered quickly, with a straightforward response. Elena Aguilar, in this post about effective teams, includes two traits that I observed among the landscaping crew: “[a] good team knows why it exists” and “[m]embers of a good team trust each other.”
  4. They took breaks. For lunch, and a few other times in the day. As they sat, they continued to chat among themselves. The parallel I draw in PBL practice is the time we spend in reflection. It is an opportunity to review what went well, what went poorly, how did I/we grow, what is the next goal. In this Edutopia article, James Kobialka offers some great ideas for effective reflection.

It seems apropos that I found parallels between a landscaping project and school settings. We all function within a landscape of some type. I wish all of us a lush, colorful, growing garden as our habitat.

Lush garden

Lush garden by Lynn Greyling is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal Public Domain Dedication

November 14

#DigiWriMo Storyjumping Part 18: The Cold November Rain

This is part 18 of a storyjumper for Digital Writing Month. To read the whole story (so far):

Part 1 Bruno’s blog started us off with a personal narrative.

Part 2 Kevin’s blog began the story.

Part 3 Maha’s blog continued…

Part 4 Sarah’s blog…

Part 5 Ron’s blog…

Part 6 Tanya’s blog…

Part 7 Kay’s blog…

Part 8 Ron’s blog…

Part 9 Dana’s blog

Part 10 Tania’s blog

Part 11 Maureen’s blog

Part 12 Sue’s blog

Part 13 Rhonda’s blog

Part 14 Yin Wah Kreher’s blog

Part 15 Scott’s blog

Part 16 Jeffrey’s blog

Part 17 Wendy’s blog

For a geographical map of participants, click here. If you would like to participate, add your name to this Google Doc.

Previously:

[As they turned the next corner they could not believe their eyes. Their two friends Smidgy and Wry were walking towards them! They ran towards them with huge grins and a laugh. The first thing they said was …..]

…”Smidgy! Wry! What’re you doing here? We thought we were the only legal aliens here!”

They hugged each other fiercely, feeling centered for the first time since arriving here in this odd Times-Square-that-was-not-quite-Times-Square. They stood in the drizzle, talking excitedly, until Haras realized she was drenched, and chilled to the bone. “Keith and I were looking for a tea house. Do you know where we could go?” “Ah, I know exactly the place,” responded Wry. She led the way as they hopped the subway to the West Village.

Bosie Tea House
http://www.yelp.com/biz_photos/bosie-tea-parlor-new-york

Once inside the tea house, Keith and Haras were unsettled to see a blind man sitting and running his fingers over a tattered map. “Um, guys,” said Haras, “maybe we should go somewhere else.” “Oh, no worries,” replied Smidgy, “that’s Facino Cane. He plays the clarinet and has been looking forward to you two bringing your sax and uke to jam with him. He’s been standing outside holding a candle in the cold November rain, hoping you would show up.”

Still uncertain, Haras approached the old man. “Excuse me, sir, who are you?” “Haras!,” he replied. “I’ve been waiting for you. There was a scuffle somewhere… it’s all fuzzy, but I think Keith was involved…?”

Keith approached even more cautiously, remembering the altercation at his house. “You know, old man, even though my fear has subsided somewhat, shadows still remain. I mean, we’re not even really in New York, I’m not really Keith, and you died like 200 years ago.”

Abruptly, the old man jumped out of his chair and grabbed Wry*. “Where’s the other map?,” he demanded. Whirling, he turned and faced the other three. “If you don’t hand over the other map, your friend here dies. You think you have two weeks to figure it out, but here where we are, it’s November 29th.”

[Over to Wry*, aka Mariam Shoaib]

November 5

#AltCV and #DigiWriMo

Phew. That’s all I can say. When the #DigiWriMo folks issued the call to create an “alternative CV,” “based not on degrees and position and peer-reviewed publications, but on what we think is most important about who we are and what we are genuinely most proud to have accomplished,” I decided to make the exercise a challenge. More of a challenge than I anticipated, really.

Animaker is a tool I have barely glanced at, but which has fascinated me for some time. So, I decided to use it to create my #AltCV. Thus the adventure began. Animaker has an eleven-and-a-half minute tutorial. I watched it once. Fumbled through assembling a few “scenes.” Several things did not come together as I wanted them to. Went through the tutorial again, to find the explanation for the nuances I was missing. Like all good learning experiences, the process was iterative. I would make some modifications, replay the video, identify the improvements I needed to make. Again and again.

In my work as a PBL (project-based learning) coach, this is an aspect I impress upon teachers. Students need to be given feedback on their work, and the time to revise. Not only once, but multiple times. My all-time favorite example of this is Ron Berger’s video of  Austin’s Butterfly:

It is all too common for educators to get caught up in the but-I-have-all-this-content-to-cover mindset, so students don’t have the occasion to delve deeply into any given topic, nor do they have the opportunity to reflect on their work, and to make improvements.

This year in our Meliora group, we are studying World History. To some, I will sound like a heretic, but I care little about what these students carry away in knowledge and facts about World History (well, I do hope they remember “les grandes lignes,” the major points). What I mostly care about is that they develop deeper thinking and analytic skills. We spend significant time discussing events in history, and making connections to today, to my students’ reality. By using open-ended questions, “why?” and “how do you know?” being perhaps my favorites, the students are required to think, and to defend their rationale.

I also care that the students learn to reflect on their work, and to actively find ways to improve it. As they develop projects, I offer feedback throughout the process. They also conduct peer reviews of each other’s work, so they can learn to critique using “kind, helpful and specific” (a phrase coined by Ron Berger) feedback.

As I went through the development of my #AltCV, I was also applying Standford’s d. school ideology of “iterative generation of artifacts intended to answer questions that get you closer to your final solution.” As they further explain in the excerpt below, iteration is fundamental to good design. Interestingly, they discuss iterations within a process, in my case the complete video, and then within a step, in my case a single scene. That is exactly how I tackled it, narrowing my focus as the flow began to take shape.

d school design thinking excerpt

I would argue this design process can be applied to many, if not all, academic disciplines. When I work with Meliora students on their history projects, we first look at the big picture, their overall argument/thesis, then over time narrow the focus to particular details that need fleshed out and refined. Likewise, when solving a math problem students need to learn to determine the process to be used, then drill down to the detail. And so forth.

And, now, for my #AltCV:

 

October 10

Autotdidact \ˌȯ-tō-ˈdī-ˌdaktˈ\ : a self-taught person (Part 2)

In part 1 of my story of autodidacts found here, I describe an experience my son went through last spring, moving from oh-no-let-me-run-away to being labeled an autodidact by his German professor. He has continued his German learning this fall, with the same professor. At least he knows what to expect!

It has been very interesting to watch from the sidelines as he has grown from I’m-still-not-so-sure-I-have-what-it-takes-to-succeed to enthusiastically embracing the challenges his professor offers. Among a class of about 15 students, he and one other are more “advanced,” so the professor has invited them to take on more demanding work. One thing about this professor that thrills me is he uses real literary works, not a dry, dusty textbook. This is in keeping with the project-based learning (PBL) principle of authenticity, defined by the Buck Institute for Education as  “real-world context, tasks and tools, quality standards, or impact – or speaks to students’ personal concerns, interests, and issues in their lives.”

Metamorphosis

The professor recently gave these two students a German-language graphic novel version of Kafka’s Metamorphosis, and is meeting with them one-on-two to discuss the book and to give them individualized assignments. My son arrived home and enthusiastically showed me the book, marveling at the fine artwork. In addition, with a grin he said “Mom, by the time I go to college, I will be ready to do my capstone in German.” [He is dual-enrolled, receiving both high school and college credit, as he is a high school sophomore.] How far he has come, from that uncertain learner to total confidence in his success. I wish every student’s experience could have such a magnificent outcome!

October 10

Downton Abbey & Frog and Toad – a #twistedpair

In response to Steve Wheeler’s #twistedpair prompt, I combined the British TV series Downton Abbey with the timeless classic early reader series Frog and Toad, written by Arnold Lobel.

Downton Abbey and Frog and Toad both declare unequivocally that life contains many unexpected turns and outcomes. In “The Corner,” Frog tells Toad how when he was young, his father once told him “spring is just around the corner.” Frog proceeds to explore various “corners,” and encounters many things, but not spring. Congruent with this, Downton Abbey character Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Maggie Smith) declares at one point, “All life is a series of problems which we must try and solve.” Every education experience should similarly contain “corners” and problems, sometimes uncomfortable ones, for both the teacher and the students.

Frog and Toad are Friends book cover

In the story “The Kite,” Frog is holding the ball of kite string, and Toad is running with the kite. The first attempts to get the kite to fly end in failure. Three robins who are watching laugh at Toad and tell him the kite will not fly. Each time, Toad tells Frog they should give up, and each time Frog tells him to try again.

Eventually, the kite “flew into the air. It climbed higher and higher.” Frog summarizes their experience by saying “If a running try did not work, and a running and waving try did not work, and a running, waving, and jumping try did not work, I knew that a running, waving, jumping, and shouting try just had to work.”

We all have encountered some of those robin naysayers. We need to model Frog’s attitude to our students, and not only teach, but also live, the growth mindset, wherein we believe that solutions are not always evident the first time, and that learning from mistakes and failure helps us grow. It is also important to show kindness and encouragement, just as Frog does.  And, we need to be willing to say “I don’t know” to questions students may ask, and then learn alongside them, exemplifying what it  means to be a #lifelonglearner. Just as Frog does, when after exploring many “corners,” sees his mother and father working in the garden, and flowers growing. As he explains to Toad, “I was very happy. I had found the corner that spring was around.”

If a running try did not work, and a running and waving try did not work, and a running, waving, and jumping try did not work, I knew that a running, waving, jumping, and shouting try just had to work.

In Downton Abbey, which depicts a gentrified family and their servants as they face the sweeping social changes of the 20th Century, Violet Crawley is very stately, dignified and seemingly strait-laced. Yet, not long into the series, it becomes apparent she has a great deal of compassion for the difficulty of choices her three granddaughters face.

Violet Crawley - Series of Problems

When one of these young women, Edith, is considering working as a writer for a newspaper office, other members of the family plead for Violet to “talk sense into her,” to get her to understand that a woman’s place is in the home. In response, Violet states “I do think a woman’s place is eventually in the home, but I see no harm in her having some fun before she gets there.” She further says “And another thing. I mean, Edith isn’t getting any younger. Perhaps she isn’t cut out for domestic life.” At the same time, The Dowager seeks to instill mental strength into these young woman, at one point telling Edith “Don’t be defeatist dear, it’s very middle class.”

As teachers, we work with students who are also faced with many choices; influenced by their peers, their parents, their environment, and the constant media bombardment. Just like Violet Crawley, we need to set a standard of conduct for ourselves that exemplifies mature adult behavior (which does not mean we cannot have fun!). At the same time, we need to show compassion, seeking to truly know our students, and to connect with them in their reality.

Although Frog and Toad and Downton Abbey are intended for different audiences, they both portray that human beings (which include all our students!) are complex, in need of encouragement and support, but also invigorated by challenge. 

“Downton Abbey Violet Crawley Quotes.” . QuotesGram. N.p., n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
Fellowes, Julian. “Downton Abbey, Season 3, Episode 7.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
Fellowes, Julian. “Downton Abbey, Season 4, Episode 8.” IMDb. IMDb.com, n.d. Web. 09 Oct. 2015.
Lobel, Arnold. Days with Frog and Toad. New York: Harper & Row, 1979. Print.
Lobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad All Year. New York: Harper & Row, 1976. Print.

July 5

#CLMOOC 2015 Make #2

I have enthusiastically charged into #CLMOOC again this year. Although some of my efforts seem more like limping along than charging!

For our second “make,” we were invited to “consider how the media we compose within (like print, sound, still and moving image, or objects) influence how we communicate and interpret.” Furthermore, we were asked to “mediate and re-mediate and reflect on how the affordances of different media impact our choices, processes, and meanings.”

Simultaneous with the beginning of this make cycle, I was brooding over the recent tragedy in South Carolina, where Dylann Roof killed nine people. Although I was feeling sad about those pointless deaths, I was even more sad that a general reaction was to get rid of all Confederate flags.

I understand that the Confederate flag is a symbol of racial hatred, and stirs negative emotions in some people. But, it is also part of our history. If we try to ignore or bury history, we will encounter even more dire consequences.

So, I decided I would use that topic for this week’s make. After some consideration, I settled on ThingLink as the platform, because I wanted to develop some proficiency with it, and to analyze its potential is as a teaching and learning tool.

As I have noted in the past, free versions of software tend to be limited, limiting, and frustrating. This is definitely true of ThingLink. In the end, I chose to upgrade to “pro” with a 14-day free trial.

What I learned as I worked (fought?) with this tool is that my process for creating this multimedia “essay” was similar to what I would do if simply writing a text essay. I needed a thesis. I had to research, looking for credible primary and secondary sources. I needed to organize my argument, and support it with evidence.

What was different than a traditional essay is that I could incorporate images, videos, and music in further support of my textual argument. By using numbered “tags,” I could also draw the audience through my argument in a logical, coherent sequence.

Much of what I was able to accomplish I quite like. I am, however, frustrated with the inability to clip video or audio segments. I would like to incorporate only the pieces that are most relevant. I could download a video, edit it, re-upload it to YouTube and then include it in the ThingLink. Ditto for music from SoundCloud. It seems like an awkward, time-consuming workaround.

ThingLink does allow the (pro) user to upload images from a computer. Why is the same capability not available for video and audio? I could edit the elements to my liking on my laptop, then upload them to ThingLink.

I also dislike how the viewer of a ThingLink image is forced to click on tags and media elements within tags in order to initiate a response. I would much prefer that the creator be able to control the response at all entry points. For example, when the viewer hovers over a tag, music utomatically starts playing. Or, when s/he clicks on a tag, a video begins.

ThingLink also seems designed to encourage the viewer to interact in any order on the image. In the case of my essay, I want the viewer to follow a given sequence, to be able to logically follow the flow of my argument. So, I imagined numbering the tags as a way of creating the proper flow. However, the number icons, both native to ThingLink and others I found readily available, all end at 9 or 10.

Since I have more than ten tags, my next hurdle was to create an icon set of my own. That was another learning process that chewed up hours of my time. I will, however, be much more efficient whenever I face icon creation again!

I can imagine ThingLink as an effective teaching tool. Teachers can incorporate multimedia elements, offering students information in a variety of formats, from many different sources. By diversifying the presentation of information, teachers create a richer learning environment, which may improve student engagement.

Editing a ThingLink image is also straightforward, so it would be easy to update a presentation with new, different, or additional information without reengineering the whole design.

Conversely, students could use ThingLink as a tool for exhibiting their learning. It would allow them to organize their evidence of learning and easily present it to a broad public audience. It has many potential uses, not just for persuasive writing. A few examples:

My next effort with ThingLink will be to create or redesign professional development I do as a #PBL (project-based learning) coach so that I can model its use.

To take a look at my finished product:

 

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