Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

Minecraft and Fractals By: Zoe Branigan-Pipe and Beth Carey We are all familiar with Math Manipulatives and the power of hands-on learning. Minecraft allows students to explore, create, design and problem solve in many dynamic ways. Here is one example of using Big Ideas and Concepts in Math. These concepts, once understood, force learners to use practical math skills in an authentic way. “Today I learned about fractals the mathematics of nature introduced by Benoct Mandelbrot. Fractals are a repeating pattern in all directions with any shape. Inspired by Ancient Egyptian architecture this fractal is made entirely of gold blocks and glass. Although it is impractical it just shows what minecraft can really do”. -Gwen, Gr. 5 Student Big Ideas: How Continue reading Minecraft and Fractals – a wonderful pair!

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MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom

The learning environment is what will help create community. Before anything, students need to feel safe. Not just physically safe, but safe to learn how they learn, safe to think “outside the box”, safe to ask questions, safe to make mistakes, safe to be who they are.  I recently read a post by Jackie Gerstein, a friend and mentor who talks passionately about the importance of community in the classroom (It’s About Connections Not Content). Below, I talk about the learning spaces to honour all learners.  It is my intention to help these students find their passions, their gifts, and their understanding of themselves. The Circle Each day, we start off in a large circle. We might play a game, Continue reading MY TOP 10 LEARNING SPACES – A Universal Design, in a Gifted Classroom

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Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable? “What?, you’ve been banned from 8 different servers?” I shrieked at my 11 year old son.   “It’s part of the game – to build trust, act normal, get more responsibility from the server owner and then, destroy” he explained. I gasped.   “In many servers, the point is to build and protect. If you are in a server shared by others, you always take the risk of having your things stolen and your creations destroyed…but for some players, hacking into a server and destroying is the main point”. I gasped. “But it’s not nice…..” So he explains, “most teachers and adults aren’t Continue reading Due Diligence and Social Media, Gaming and 21st Century Learning. Will education Institutions be held accountable?

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Educon Conversation – Learning Spaces of Tomorrow

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to facilitate a conversation at #educon23 in Philidealphia with Rodd Lucier (thecleversheep). Because we were presenting during the last time slot of the conference, Rodd and I felt is was necessary to give participants a chance to apply the knowledge gained throughout the weekend to our session. Ultimately to make the session, their culminating activity. We used a Livescribe Pen, a tool that records in both ink and audio we asked the participants to literally design a learning space using the themes and principles of Educon itself. The results of the Pencasts are quite remarkable really and captured those conversations that don’t normally get the attention – the small groups and 1:1 Continue reading Educon Conversation – Learning Spaces of Tomorrow

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Blogging for Real Reform -Teaching Teachers to become Global Educators – an inquiry approach

In September, my teaching assignment changed drastically – from teaching 12 year olds in a Grade Six Class (HWDSB) to teaching pre-service Teacher Candidates at Brock University,  in Hamilton, Ontario. Although the curriculum, standards and focus changed – my intent stayed the same – to develop a program that provoked my students: to think critically, to engage in discussion, to see the potential of the Internet as a hub for collaboration, and to provide a platform for them to develop their own learning communities that are authentic, safe and supportive. I wanted them to see that learning can now take place anywhere, at anytime, and by anyone and that they have choice of how they want to learn, whether Continue reading Blogging for Real Reform -Teaching Teachers to become Global Educators – an inquiry approach

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Take a risk, try something new…

Last week, I participated in a online session with Will Richardson (@willrich45) and other Ontario teachers. A major theme to our discussion was the concept of risk. To be at the forefront of change and innovation, we need to be comfortable with taking risk. We are entering new territory by having our students use online tools, including social networking. We are ‘exploring strange new worlds, boldly going where no one has gone before…” (I couldn’t resist). It is risky to try something new because we are not conforming to the norm. I have met many teachers in schools across our globe that say they are embracing a new way of teaching and learning, but feel alone in their school Continue reading Take a risk, try something new…

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