Just Right – A Reminder

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We know the story of Goldilocks. This little blonde girl somehow is wandering without any adult supervision.  Her exhaustion gives her permission to break in to a house, leading her to find the ‘JUST RIGHT’ things she was craving. Crazy when you think about it but I love Anthony Browne‘s backstory if you have never read it.

There is some thing familiar to Goldilock’s JUST RIGHT moments that makes us keep coming back. To be honest I don’t really remember the story as a kid, but I know I’ve used it or heard it dozens of times as an adult. As Goldilock’s Principles, Strategies and Rules popped up in a quick image search, the idea seems to fit many worlds and situations. Maybe it is because the concept seems universal. Who isn’t in search for that JUST RIGHT pair of jeans, work out, car, home, book? Last week I was reminded that there are  JUST RIGHT edtech moments too.

It was a Thursday Lunch and Learn and I was nervous. There was a tool I had been introduced to a year before but never found the right setting or group. It was an audio feedback tool that allowed you to annotate artifacts with personalized written, audio feedback or lesson links. I was a little apprehensive to share it.I must have re-read the email request a dozen times. It wasn’t an idea I had tried, tested and perfected but I couldn’t think of a better option for what they were searching for. The day came and as we chatted, the questions started flowing. We started exploring the different uses. We signed in as student’s would to see their experience. It was so awesome to see it was possibly a JUST RIGHT fit for some of the tasks they had ahead.

Friday I was sitting with a few colleagues that work in a very unique situation. I had grand plans of what we would work on for the afternoon. The go to standards; the newest and brightest tools. We started chatting and sharing about our learning communities. As I listened I realized there was one particular need that kept coming up and the  JUST RIGHT tool to address it may not be what I had planned, but rather a simple, free app. We tried it out and I could see the excitement growing. I love those moments when educators see the possibilities, the potential the tool has to enhance the learning experience. It was a very different tool from Thursday’s Lunch and Learn but none the less it was JUST RIGHT.

 

In Edtech we sometimes have a tendency to create really long lists of possible options or champion the newest and greatest. I know I’m to blame as much as the next person. I love to find new tools and think of the possibilities. Sometimes we feel we need to use a tool because others are championing it. It’s been tweeted by our role model or a district leader so it must be the right fit. Sometimes we feel we need to show we are innovative by using the newest, flashiest tool and other times we keep reusing our GO TO tool because it just works.

Last week’s experiences reminded me that maybe innovation in education is less about the flash of an app or the release date of a tool, and more about finding that JUST RIGHT tool that will enhance the learning experience.

How would learning change, how would our discussions change if we focused on the JUST RIGHT tool, at the JUST RIGHT time, for the JUST RIGHT learner?

Grateful for the reminder that maybe more than anything my role is to slow down, listen and find the JUST RIGHT tool for the learning & learner.

#1smalltweak

I shared a little about how #1smalltweak came about at in an earlier post but it’s hard to believe it’s here. From those steps a few months ago in the corner of a conference hall, we now are ready to share on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

Super excited to work with a great group of #ADE on a new project #1smalltweak Stay tuned for more!

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As we chatted we realized many of us had supported individuals that felt overwhelmed with the choices that come from digital technologies. So many options and often it felt so far removed from their everyday practice. Together we wondered how we could help educators’ get started on that change journey. If it’s all about moving from our point A to our point B, how could we help educators try something new. We didn’t want it to be something extra, but easily integrated into their practice. Just a small tweak. And that one small tweak could lead to another small tweak and so the journey  would being. We wanted to help educators see how they could use those quick tools/strategies and apply them across the curriculum.

So here is the plan: Each month there will be a new theme that builds on a typical classroom activity. Every Friday we will share a resource to start the conversation. The weeks are outlined below.

  • Week 1: A Recipe Card-A one page image that will help you get started with the strategy in your classroom right away. No detailed steps to follow, just a prompt for you and your learners to dive in.
  • Week 2: Ideas for the Classroom – After learning the strategy we wanted to make sure it could be used again and again (if the kids enjoy it of course) across the curriculum so we will share just a few of the ways we have done so in the classroom.
  • Week 3: Resource Round Up Many of the strategies and tools we are sharing are not new so we want to help connect folks to some of the great resources already out there.
  • Week 4: Share What you Have Created! Part of being a community of learners is sharing that learning. We want to celebrate how you have used the strategy in your own practice.

It is such a pleasure to learn and create alongside a fantastic group of educators: Ann, Cindy, Matt, Mike, Stuart, Tami. I hope you join us on this wild ride as we see where it may lead. Connect with us each Friday on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest or Instagram. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts and see the learning that follows!