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Todd Rose at TEDx The myth of the average

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Started by Chrissie Butler 18 Jul 2013 1:06pm () Replies (9)

Review how you use technology in your classroom and school in the context of Todd Rose's talk at TEDx Sonoma County.

You can also view this video with its interactive transcript on YouTube.

Question to consider:

  • If we design to the edges, what might that mean for the way we measure achievement?


  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 19 Jul 2013 4:40pm ()

    Chrissie this is freaking awesome!  Why we get out of bed in the morning.  Lets make this compulsory viewing at every staff meeting for every school by the end of term .... 

    "so what?"

    " now what?"

    .... be interesting to stand back and watch ....

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2013 9:46am ()

    Hi Greg. Yep its pretty conclusive in the context of current understanding of how the brain works and how we learn.

    I'll lend you his new book, Square Peg, when I see you. The thing is it has implications for everything we do:

    • The way we teach students
    • The way we facilitate professional learning
    • Our appraisal and recruitment systems and processes ...

    Thinking about effective e-learning, the biggest hit is that it challenges head on how we think of and use tech. The transformative stuff is that when we present kids text for example, we can now present it flexibly rather than fixed on a page. Digital text can be read aloud by the screen reader, each word can be highlighted as it's spoken, it can be linked easily to background knowledge which can be presented in different media, new words can be hyperlinked to contextual cues etc.

    For me this is the guts of the transformation of learning. Now students that have traditionally been shut out of so many subjects because they needed to read and engage with fixed material can now demonstrate their talents because they can access and participate in the learning. It is a revolution. We have never been able to do this before.

    Where Universal Design for Learning fits in, is that it gives us a set of guidelines to prompt our thinking when we design any learning activity/environment. It nudges us to focus on the transformative potential of the technology rather than possibly get seduced by the bling. It pulls us back to the learning needs of the student and the options they need made available to thrive.

    UDL bodies

  • Greg Carroll (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2013 11:29am ()

    Agreed Chrissie .... I live with one of those kids.  I guess thats why it hits home so much for me too.  If written literacy is a challenge, how do you share and showcase your learning in ways that are valued?  How do you share that you know the content well and in fact are operating at SOLO Extended Abstract level when it has to have a contents page, a title page, lovely boarders when it comes time to provie it ......??

    One of the things I really like about UDL, in my limited but evolving understanding of it, is the assumption that you need to cater for the range of learners, the range of abilities, and the range of assessment possibilities form the outset.  Like the story that begins the talk .... catering for the range means most, if not all, are within 'normal' all of a sudden.

    On a slightly different tangent .... The changes in tech now often means that the kids we labelled as 'special needs' in the past and who were behind the barrier of assistive technologies now have the cool stuff.  They use (for example) an iPad or other tablet device to communicate, to learn, to share, to be part of the normal, everyday programme.  Other kids want what they have instead of the fancy switches and 'gear' being a physical and psychological barrier to their inclusion in 'normal' in the classroom which is how it has been in the past in my experience.  Who cares if someone is doing their writing on a device using speech recognition if everyone is?  Who cares if the device talks for them if everyone is so familiar with the tool that the 'voice' is normal, or better still sounds like another kid instead of a robot?  A wonderful outcome of the power of technology I reckon.



  • Emily Keenan (View all users posts) 22 Jul 2013 12:14pm ()

    Another great one from Todd, Chrissie. I love his analogy - the Learning equivalent of adjustable seats. I'm with you Greg would be great to see this being viewed and discussed at staff meetings - so many Billys out there in NZ classrooms that need those "adjustable seats." 

  • Mark Maddren (View all users posts) 24 Jul 2013 2:44pm ()

    That is very powerful, I think about kids in my class that even through were priority or focussed learners whom I tried to cater for I still made them use average chairs and desks along with a whole range of average designed tools. Makes me think about significance of well designed learning spaces.

  • Chrissie Butler (View all users posts) 24 Jul 2013 4:50pm ()

    Kia ora Mark. Looking forward to meeting you next week. What kinds of things first spring to mend when you think of reconsidering the design of learning spaces?

  • Mark Maddren (View all users posts) 25 Jul 2013 6:39am ()

    I had one size fits all desks and chairs in my class and a lot of the children would choose to work away fom their own desks. Getting rid of the majority of individual desks and giving the children more space and choice of where they want to work. I had noticed more kids enjoyed working around a larger table with more ability to collaborate or on the floor or low steps.  There were exceptions and a couple of the quieter children preferred their own space that was theirs. I do not know how practical in an established school it would be but you almost need to have a half dozen types of learning spaces / furniture to cater for the "not so average" child. 

  • linda Ojala (View all users posts) 05 Aug 2013 12:13pm ()

    A great video... his message in many ways is pretty simple and totally makes sense, I guess for me and where I am at right now  it's how you practically put it into practice within the class.   I love the image of the adjustable seat - that picture that the learning space can be tweeked and maneuvered depending on the individual learning needs of each child.

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