teacher at valhalla high school
Posted on Apr 16, 2015 by Mike Skocko Latest activity: Apr 22, 2015
I run a digital arts lab and have to spend $2,200 in the next 10 days. No single item can be in excess of $500 and all purchases must involve POs so credit cards are verboten. It's use it or loose it dough for our program and I don't want to waste it.
Sounds fun, right? Yeah, well, here's where you'll begin to hate me.
Over the past half dozen years we've gone from rags to riches. Next year we'll have new 27" iMacs and the Creative Cloud (bye bye CS6). We have a large format printer and scanner, plenty of ink and paper, cameras, cards, tripods, Wacom tablets, headphones... In short, an embarrassment of riches (but the kids produce work like this so it's been a pretty good use of taxpayer funds).
So the question is: What creative tools would you recommend?
Thanks in advance.
- 1 Rating
Posted on Feb 23, 2014 by Mike Skocko Latest activity: Dec 19, 2014
We—the students and I—have finally received the green light from the superintendent to formally roll out Linked Learning 2.0 in our district next year and he wants it scaled. Several teachers and admins have already asked to sit down and explore that possibility.
Specifics are briefly summarized in this Google Doc. I've begun tweeting with the #LinkedLearning20 hashtag and am hoping the powers that be, @IrvineFdn, @linked_learning, @ConnectEdOrg, @CADeptEd, @TomTorlakson, @CaliforniaCTE, among others will get behind the concept.
I'm not sure how it will work in other states but in California, the Local Control Funding Formula gives us the freedom to implement innovative programs, even at comprehensive public high schools like ours (with built-in accountability, of course).
And for the record, we—the students and I—have been testing this program for the past few years. It's not really all that daring. To quote a recent tweet: Why should schools decide which pathway to offer? Allow students to construct custom pathways.
So, I ask you: Why should schools decide which pathway to offer? Do we really know better?
Inspire. Engage. Empower.
- 2 Ratings
Posted on Jul 31, 2013 by Mike Skocko Latest activity: Jul 16, 2014
I read an article recently that may require one to suspend disbelief in order to truly appreciate the deeper message. Pay It Forward: Why Generosity Is The Key To Success suggests we fit into three basic categories: Givers, Matchers, and Takers.
Back in March of 2011 I recorded a video entitled Confessions of a Video Tutorial Junkie. In it, I confess that I get far more out of sharing than I ever put in. In essence, by being a Giver, I get more than any Taker ever will.
If you want to be a professional Taker, watch the video and consider the edu-riches I've reaped.
I encounter educators all the time who say they don't have time to share or that they're uncomfortable taking a step into the big, bad, scary Web 2.0 world or, worst of all, they simply want to clutch their lessons to their chest: They're MINE! I worked hard to create these!
It's not touchy-feely new age nonsense; the more you give, the more you get. Be selfish. Share every good idea that you have with as many people as possible.
Yes? No? Why? Why not?
- 2 Ratings
Posted on Jul 19, 2013 by Mike Skocko Latest activity: Jul 16, 2014
If we're supposed to prepare students for the real world in CTE classes, why not turn the classroom into a business and the students into employees?*
It seems painfully obvious in retrospect, and I'm sure others have successfully done this in the past, but it never dawned on me until this comment. Since then, I've begun working out the details in this post and am convinced that the concept is worth pursuing.
Constructive criticism is welcomed. :)
*Edit: The idea is more metaphoric than literal. See explanation in this comment.
- 4 Ratings
Posted on May 8, 2013 by Mike Skocko Latest activity: Dec 5, 2013
In the fall of 2013, we're piloting a student-centered, multidisciplinary learning environment at my high school. The folks from WASC will be conducting their review of our school at the same time (we're approaching the end of our six-year accreditation cycle). In that context, I find the following excerpt from this Wired article as troubling as it is ironic:
What of [Singularity University's] own future? It certainly does not plan to become an accredited university. "You need to fix your curriculum for that," says Salim Ismail. "We change ours five times a year! One of the deans at Stanford proudly told me they update theirs every six years. But if you're doing a master's degree today in neuroscience or advanced robotics or biotech, by the time you finish you're out of date. And we've never seen that before in the history of the world."
Our western education model isn't adapting to 21st century demands quickly or nimbly enough. It's trapped by its own system.
What's a mere teacher to do?
- 2 Ratings