"We are living a public life on a global stage, the ones who can express themselves best, will be heard." -Laura Hill, Author The Great Story World Mix-Up, co-creator #whatisschool

Read the books I write with my children.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Whatisschool April 30, 2015 Diversity




Diversity In Schools, A Problem Or An Opportunity?
#whatisschool April 30, 2015 7PM EDT

Everyday the global community shows up in our classrooms reflected in the material we chose to teach, the technology we use and the student body.  As we educate students to be 21st century leaders and creators  it is easy to see they will be working in a diverse, multicultural, global arena.   So what is diversity anyway?

The belief that knowledge and understanding flourishes best in a climate of sharing through debate dates back to the Socratic tradition, but it is also a part of current global perspectivism.

Diversity can be described in terms of gender, age, sex, race or ethnicity but in the broader sense it refers to a concept that embraces the richness of human differences.  Through dialogue and discovery diversity broadens the learning experience for all students. By engaging in multicultural learning we extend the meaning of personal, social,and moral growth by learning from the unique perspectives of different populations.

Allison in 7/8
French immersion class
This week help me welcome outspoken educator and student voice advocate Allison Fuisz (@allison_fuisz) who will be sharing duties as co-moderator and ambassador of classroom diversity with me.  Allison is a passionate, energetic teacher who is packing a wealth of international experience. She created an authentic co-learning space for her students and fellow teachers where she brainstormed and promoted Ontario’s Students as Researchers (STAR program).  Using integrated technology Allison has opened up the world to her students, making their voice heard and exposing them to diverse cultures while helping them gain the skills they will need to be future change makers.  Make sure you check out her excellent blog The Enthusiastic Learner and give her a big welcome to #whatisschool.


Questions #whatisschool 
April 30 2015, 7PM EDT

1) What are the challenges of a diverse classroom? 
2) How can you use structured classroom activities to highlight diversity? 
3) How can global classrooms and technology increase diversity, awareness in your student body?
4) How can teachers, parents and communities create opportunities for students to experience diversity?
5) What can you do to increase student
voice, empathy, understanding and acceptance of diverse populations?
6) How can embracing diversity in class prepare students to be active members of a global community?




Thursday, April 23, 2015

Whatisschool April 23, 2015 Gamification






#whatisschool, April 23, 2015 7PM EDT

Classroom learning through Gamification


Games and gaming culture are playing an increasingly large role in the lives of people all over the world with an estimated 7 hours a day being spent on-screen. This fast growing sector that has already outpaced music and will soon eclipse the movie industry in sales now has its eye on education.  So what is Gamification anyway?

Gamification is defined as “the use of game thinking and game mechanics in non-game contexts to engage users in solving problems.”  In education this could amount to learning apps or game specific models for learning that work on a reward or point based system.  Outside of education these game techniques are used every day by adults as frequent flyer miles and credit card points.   So how can games be integrated into education?

This week #whatisschool welcomes special guest tweeter and edtech consultant Justin Hardman (@jahardman) who is working with schools in South Korea to support the integration of technology and games in the classroom.   Justin will be offering our #whatisschool PLN a chance to win a ticket to the 21st Century Learning Conference in Hong Kong (Feb 18-20, 2016), where Mr Kemp will be speaking and offering a master class! This winning ticket valued at US $500 will be given to one of the top 25 tweeters at #whatisschool this week who will be randomly selected.

So let’s get our game on!


Questions #whatisschool, April 23, 2015 7PM EDT

1) What does gamification mean for you? Give a 1tweet summary for those new to the idea.
2) What are the key learning benefits to gamification?
3) What apps/resources are useful in employing gamification in K-12 education?
4) How do you know when gamification has been effective?
5) Can gaming replace intrinsic motivation? How? Why?
6) How could educator professional learning be gamified?

BONUS 7th Question this week only: What will have a bigger impact on learning: Games for learning or gamification of learning?




Thursday, April 16, 2015

Whatisschool April 16, 2015


Student Centered Learning
#whatisschool  April 16, 2015, 7PM EDT




"I never teach my pupils; I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." -Albert Einstein

We are in the midst of an education renaissance brought on by a rapidly developing technology sector and a shift in learning focus from industrial skills to global communication. With this change has come a host of teaching innovations.

Join us this week as  #whatisschool takes an in-depth look at student centered learning where the teacher turns from "sage on stage" to mentor and coach, and the students take more responsibility for furthering their own education.



 #whatisschool Questions 
April 16, 2015, 7PM EDT

Q)1 What types of student centered learning have you employed in your class, what were the results?
Q) 2 Does student centered learning increase engagement and retention or cause chaos?
Q)3 What programs or technologies have you employed to facilitate student centered learning opportunities?
Q)4 How can educators switch to student centered models and reach scholastic learning goals?
Q)5 How much responsibility should students have to drive their own education and at what age?
Q)6 How can student centered learning provide diversity and equal education for all students?

Read my post  Opting Out Of A Broken System and Opting Into Life Learning 






Thursday, April 9, 2015

Whatisschool April 9, 2015




High Stakes Assessment GLOBAL SMACKDOWN!
#whatisschool  April 9, 2015, 7PM EDT

There are over 700,000,000 million students in elementary and secondary schools around the world.

Before the break, parents and teachers in my district engaged in in-depth, sometimes animated, discussions about high stakes assessments and the classroom.  Parents were urged to opt out of tests but with little promise that classroom time would be re-devoted to activities that encourage critical thinking, collaboration or the building of modern skill sets.  Teachers likewise were frustrated. The students became political footballs, confused about why they worked hard all year to prepare for a test they weren’t obligated to take and in some people’s mind has no value.  So how do we get our classrooms back and return to the business of growing student skills for a new generation of 21st century learners, leaders, thinkers, creators and doers?

In our first ever GLOBAL SMACKDOWN #whatisschool is asking YOU to send your thoughts about balancing classroom time with assessments to laurahillbooks@gmail.com or DM @candylandcaper between now and Thursday, April 9.  Your ideas will be posted as graphics during the chat while heavyweight global educators Mark Weston @ShiftParadigm and Brett Salakas @MRsalakas man the helm and moderate this week’s #whatisschool Q&A.

After the chat you can download the SMACKDOWN at www.whatisschool.org.  Make a difference, join us as we re-imagine education #whatisschool!


High Stakes Assessment GLOBAL SMACKDOWN!
Questions #whatisschool April 9, 2015, 7PM EDT



1) How do you balance preparation for high stakes assessments with teaching and learning in your classroom?  
2) What value do high stakes assessments bring to your students, how does it affect their future?
3) How do you motivate students who are aware at a very young age of their scholastic rank and academic measure against their peers?
4) What can administrators and districts do to create balance in the classroom and refocus education on nurturing student’s skills.
5) How can parents and educators work together to change high stakes assessments without bringing students into the political arena?
6) Smackdown! With high stakes assessments still in the mix, what can you do to make a change in your classroom?




Thursday, April 2, 2015

Whatisschool April 2, 2015






Reflection, A Learning Tool For Life
#whatisschool 7PM EDT April 2, 2015

Do reflection strategies make learning stick? How about when technology is involved? Both the giving and receiving of feedback and useful reflection are habits that can be nurtured in the classroom and used in every aspect of life.  This week #whatisschool takes a look at learning from the student side examining the real meaning of student reflection, how techniques like blogging fit in and ways to connect your class with authentic audiences on the outside.

Questions #whatisschool
7PM EDT April 2, 2015

Q1) How do you define and model authentic reflection for your students?
Q2) What does reflection look like in your classroom, what should it be?
Q3) How can traditional reflection methods use technology to enhance student experience?
Q4) How do you connect your students with an authentic audiences to provide feedback?
Q5) How can reflection heightened self awareness to aid student success in and out of class?
Q6) How can you turn mindful reflection into action that aids global learning?



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