Hello World! Again.

Like all the cool kids seem to have done, I have added an archive of my tweets at twitter.jamesmichie.com. I have not decided if I am going to delete all my tweets, but as you will see, I have been pretty close to inactive for some time.

Nor have I found an alternative social network to engage in. I had a brief dalliance with Mastodon but I was not enamoured with the format (in essence a distributed clone of Twitter) – unsure as to whether I could, or even wanted to, rebuild a close network of peers.

In fact, I am not sure that I need social media as it currently exists. I do not believe that I have missed anything over the last year or so by not being active on Twitter. Quite the contrary. I have read more books and actual news. I have grown a cultivated list of blogs in varying genres to read via RSS (yes that old chestnut). And I have focussed on my health and fitness (running has taken over my life!)

However, I signed up to Micro.blog, today, in the hopes that it encourages me to post more regularly in a shorter format. Sharing is important (IMO) and I feel there is space (once again) for writing to be a positive outlet for me. Micro.blog allows for self-hosting, via WordPress and other open source blogging platforms, which means that I will retain ownership of my data. It also offers a growing network and native MAC and iOS apps.

I hope the shorter, low-stakes format of micro-blog encourages me to post briefly and regularly. 

We will see… I have promised a return to regular posting in the past and it didn’t happen. However, it’s been nearly two years since I wrote here, and a year since I engaged with Twitter in any meaningful way. A lot has happened and some of it is worth putting out into the world.

Blog Feed Update

Those of you who subscribe to this blog’s RSS feed may have noticed some strange chemistry related posts appearing in the feed. These posts were not written by me and if you navigate to jamesmichie.com/blog via the web you will not find them. I became aware of the problem a few weeks ago and have been trying to rectify it. However, this has not proved successful.

What does this mean? It means that I wil be deleting my FeedBurner feed shortly. If you wish to continue subscribing to this blog you can do so by resubscribing to the following feed address: http://jamesmichie.com/blog/feed; or you can follow me via Twitter where posts are pushed automatically.

Unfortunately, for the small number of you who subscribe via Email, I will be unable to offer this form of subscription for the foreseeable future.

[Update: 03.01.13] Email subscriptions are back up and running thanks to MailChimp’s RSS to Email feature. Click on the following link to subscribe: http://eepurl.com/tAnET.

‘Leashes Not Required’ – A Google+ Hangout

Google PlusKevin McLaughlin and I will be hosting a Google+ Hangout at 8pm on Wednesday, 25 April, to discuss our approaches to facilitating independent/personalised learning in our classrooms.

It has been apparent for some time that Kevin and I share a similar set of values with regard to education. Unwilling to be the ‘sage on the stage’, to spoon feed, teach to the test or over plan, we both practice (and advocate) a student-centred approach to learning in our classrooms. Yesterday, on Twitter we found ourselves (not for the first time) sharing our thoughts about what had been happening in our respective classrooms. In that moment we both had the same idea, to compare notes in greater detail. We have decided that the best place to do this would be in a Google+ Hangout. This will allow a few other people to join in with us, and for the conversation to be recorded so that it can be shared more widely afterwards.

Read about Kevin’s experiences, introducing his class to personalised learning, in the following posts:

Read about the research I have been doing into independent learning in the following posts:

If the ideas shared here or in the various posts resonate with you, then please consider tuning in via Google+ on Wednesday at 8pm. The link will be shared publicly on Google+ and via Twitter. We hope that the discussion will be a productive and valuable one.

[Update: Kevin and I were joined by Steve Philp and Spencer Cartwright. Unfortunately, due to some technical issues we were unable to record the Hangout. Nevertheless, we had a thought provoking chat about the approaches that Kevin and I have been employing to facilitate independent learning – culminating in a consideration of the barriers to fostering such approaches more widely.]

[#ukedchat] Starting with a blank piece of paper: Design the school of your dreams.

uked11

Next Thursday, I will be hosting #ukedchat for the third time.

During my previous session, I asked:

Are schools (as physical spaces) necessary to facilitate learning in the 21st century?

The resulting discussion was a thoroughly engaging one, which raised more questions than provided answers. It was apparent that most of the educators who got involved, felt that schools as physical spaces still have purpose. However, it was also clear that schools in their current state are not 100% fit for purpose. Be it the learning space itself, the infrastructure or the curriculum, a number of areas for improvement were recognised.

In this next session, I want to pick up where the previous discussion left off and explore what a school should be like in the 21st century. In order to do that, I thought it would be useful to provide a premise:

Starting with a blank piece of paper: Design the school of your dreams.

In considering this, I wish for us to focus on the following areas:

Curriculum

What should be learned? How should it be learned? How should learning be structured? Subjects? Skills?

Assessment

Should learning be assessed? If so, how? Is there a place for grades? How can we accredit informal learning? AfL? Badges?

People

Who is to be involved? How will they be involved? Teachers? Students? Parents?

Space

Where will the learning happen? Classrooms? What role for libraries? What about virtual spaces?

Time

How long should the school day be? Should it be the same for everyone? How would lessons/timetable be structured?

Technology

What technologies should be utilised? Wifi? Tablets? BYOD?

To provide some further provocation, the following series of videos feature students from the Santa Barbara Middle School interviewing Sir Ken Robinson about his dream school; his answers are, as usual, well considered and challenging:

And so, if that has suitably whetted your appetite, I hope that you will be able to join me on Thursday at 8pm.

[Update: Saturday,  21 April] This was the 94th instalment of #ukedchat. You can read a summary of the discussion here and read/download a PDF archive of all the tweets here.