Another Math Educator #IMMOOC

Week 2 – #IMMOOC – Chapters 1-3 – with Alice Keeler

What I absolutely loved about this week’s YouTube segment with Alice Keeler was that she is a mathematics educator, she directly connects research to her practice, and she is going out of her way to share her message. I just love it… “grades are crappy feedback”… “there is no average time to learn”… and “homework is a waste of time.” Can it get any better that that? I am so inspired by what she had to say. She is a high school math teacher and she is talking about no homework, the importance of relationships, and her love for spreadsheets. COLLECT THE DATA. She is a person after my own heart.

Here are some more amazing points Alice Keeler hits home with that I would like to mention: (1) use Google…. technology gives students choice… share learning digitally… it’s 2017; (2) ask students what percent of their time at school is “busy-work”… ranges from 65% to 80% (3) grading does not improve learning… grading has a 30% differential when different teachers mark the same thing… it’s not accurate. Wowza. Here, here!!!

The YouTube with Alice Keeler is a must watch. The link is attached below. You can see her enthusiasm, passion, and conviction. I started following her on Twitter @AliceKeeler and her energy is just the same. Let’s focus on student learning that is research based.


If you were to start a school from scratch, what would it look like?

Well… I chose this question to reflect on because I don’t know the answer. I certainly know of aspects of what it shouldn’t be. We need to get out of the industrial model of mass education. We are losing students. We talk about affective ways to improve student learning like formative feedback and mastery learning but I question if we are doing it. And when I mean WE, I mean a collective we. I just love the fact that Alice Keeler’s practice is guided by research. I also believe that students need a voice in the learning process as well. Hence, I’m reluctant to say what “I” would do if I were to start a school from scratch because that’s what WE have been doing for so many years.

I would love to have a collaborative approach with open spaces that are inclusive and safe places to learn and make mistakes. Culture is a huge component to schools as well. We are “guided” by policies but sometimes I wonder if we forget who we are serving and why. I love the 8 characteristics of the Innovator’s Mindset: empathetic, problem finders/solvers, risk takers, networked, observant, creators, resilient, and reflective. I would love to have a learning space where all of these characteristics are honoured, nourished, and expected from students, teachers, educational leaders, and parents.

Physical structures, policies, instructional and assessment practices, and school culture would be focused on student learning and be student centred. In this photo above, it’s a student leading my class. Technology is embedded. Students are engaged. My role as the teacher is to create the framework, the culture, and mindset so that students can thrive, take risks, and be creative to find their personal strengths and interests. I believe that we can do this now in our schools but I believe it’s a collective effort. Do we all share the same vision? Do we all believe that students are able? Are we all willing to change our practice (and make mistakes) to benefit student learning? I hope the answer is YES x 3.

Final note… I love that students have CHOICE in their learning… or as Alice would say, LOCUS OF CONTROL… that they feel invested in their learning and have a say. Students know and understand way more than what we believe they know and understand. Our job is to help, guide, and facilitate their learning with our expertise and experiences that will help them thrive and be autonomous learners. I love that essential question: “How doe we save Nelly?” That’s what learning is about… not just a set of facts to memorize.

#IMMOOC Season 3 – Episode 2 with Alice Keeler @AliceKeeler

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