All posts by joconnor2014

ESL teacher in Western Sydney, Australia. I love reading, gardening, sport and enthusiastic people.

Courage to Be an Outlier Educator

User Generated Education


Today, during a podcast interview, I was asked what it takes to be an educational thought leader. My response was, “courage.”  In this test driven, accountability-laden era of education, it takes courage to be an educator driven by authentic, constructivist, and student-centered values and practices.


Courage is the choice and willingness to confront agony, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation.  Moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, discouragement, or personal loss. According to Maya Angelou, “Courage is the most important of the virtues, because without courage you can’t practice any other virtue consistently. You can practice any virtue erratically, but nothing consistently without courage.”


“Outlier” is a scientific term to describe things or phenomena that lie outside normal experience. In the summer, in Paris, we expect most days to be somewhere between warm and very hot…

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Create a Custom Bingo Game and Play on Your iPad or Computer


If you’re at all like me, then you like to play bingo. I have used bingo as a teaching tool for as long as I can remember. I recently stumbled upon an online bingo creator that allows the user to create a game, distribute the URL to students, and have them play on their device. The easiest way to distribute the game is to create a QR Code (my favorite QR code generator is Students will scan the code and open up the bingo game on their iPad. If they are using a computer, you can distribute the URL for the game however you wish (I would publish the link on my site or distribute URL via Air Drop). Once students open the bingo game, they TAP on the square (iPad) or CLICK in the square (computer). The great thing is that it is very rare to have two users…

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The Problem with “Formative Assessment Tools” (part 1 of 2)

Cooper on Curriculum

The Problem with %22Formative Assessment Tools%22 (part 1 of 2)The Problem

It started with generally clunky and overpriced “student clickers” by such brands as SMART Technologies and Einstruction, and over the past few years it has transitioned into slick apps like Socrative, Kahoot!, and Plickers. Time and time again we have seen these apps demoed during professional development sessions and written about on websites and blogs. Nevertheless, we need to be careful that we do not prioritize technology over pedagogy by referring to these apps as “formative assessment tools” when they are anything but.

When James Popham defines formative assessment, he states:

Formative assessment is a planned process in which teachers or students use assessment-based evidence to adjust what they’re currently doing.

In other words, if teachers or students are not leveraging results/data (from Socrative, Kahoot!, Plickers, etc.) to then differentiate instruction or learning, the app inspired dog and pony show does not qualify as a…

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Poor teachers: Who is to blame?

My Island View

I posed an #Edchat Topic recently based on a number of studies I have been reading about that are claiming millions of dollars are being spent, or wasted, on professional development, while very few teachers are benefitting from it. Again the age-old story of doing things the same old way but expecting different results defeats us as a profession. The method of doing professional development for educators has largely not changed over the decades. It may be time to re-examine a few things.

Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

I have addressed this in several earlier posts, but it needs to be re-stated until people finally begin to understand that there are differences in how adults effectively learn, andragogy, compared to the motivations in learning by children, which is pedagogy. Pedagogy is what most educators are familiar with because it was taught to them to enable them to teach kids. It is how kids…

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I is for Innovation

Thank you Scott Thornbury. You have reminded me that I need to keep my “Crap Detector” turned on and to stay vigiliant about what tech in education pretends to be and what it is doing.
I am suspicious that way too many managers in the teaching world are more proficient with spreadsheets than they are with teaching concepts.
I use tech in my teaching and am indeed a tech advocate in my school, but I still get great value out of paper cut ups and walk and talk activities. Good teaching for me is using all the resouces at hand to engage and make the learning experience memorable and meaningful for the learner.
I do worry that bad teaching with tech is being sold as good teaching and that bad teachers with tech know how and poorly designed products are taking over education.
I will continue to use tech in my practice but I neeed to be more mindful of why I am using it.

An A-Z of ELT

This is a dress rehearsal of my opening ‘mini-plenary’ for the hugely successful ELT Innovate conference, held this weekend in Barcelona  – on the subject, unsurprisingly – of innovation.

These are the books and articles I refer to:

Postman, N., & Weingartner, C. (1969) Teaching as a subversive activity. Penguin Education.

Selwyn, N. (2011) Education and Technology: Key Issues and Debates, London: Continuum.

Selwyn, N. (2013) Distrusting Educational Technology: Critical Questions for Changing Times. London: Routledge.

Selwyn, N. (2015) ‘Minding our language: Why education and technology is full of bullshit … and what might be done about it’, paper given to the ‘Digital Innovation, creativity and knowledge in education’ conference, Qatar, January 2015.

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Nice one Jessica.
It was wonderful bumping into you at the train station. I look forward to your future blogs.

jessicajingxin's Blog

The music hall people whose name name is Charlie.He is very famous from music.

There is a good story about Chatlie.He real name was Charles Spencer Chaplin.This book is very good because it has about Chatlie ‘s background and how to succeed.Charlie ‘ s father was an entertainer in the music.Moreover,The first music halls were pubs where people sometimes sang,played music,or entertained in other way.And for City Lights he kept to silent film.Finally,he had died in his sleep.

It was a good day for a great entertainer to slip away.

I choose this book because it descrite a famous people and we all know Chaplain is an interesting man.

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High Possibility Classrooms: a new model for technology integration for schools

High possibility classrooms are what all teachers should be bringing to classrooms.

21st Century Learning

from Jane Hunter

This post is dedicated to my parents, Patrice and Noel, and to Anna who all had great passion for education and sadly passed away in 2014.

On the 5 March Sir Ken Robinson will give the first annual Anna Craft memorial lecture: Educating for creativity: From what is to what might be at Exeter University in the UK. It will be available on YouTube at a later date. Professor Craft passed away last year after a very brief battle with an aggressive cancer. She was 53. She and Sir Ken worked closely together for many years prior to his departure to the US and it is her seminal work in ‘possibility thinking and creativity’ (Craft, 2002; 2005; 2006; 2011a); 2011b); 2012) that leaves a significant intellectual legacy for education in schools. Groundbreaking studies – years ahead of their time.

Craft’s writing and scholarship formed the epiphany moment…

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1905: Einstein’s Miracle Year [VIDEO 5:16]

This is an inspirational video!

It makes me think as a teacher that I need to keep on pushing and trying even when I feel all is lost, when no one is interested, that what I believe in is of value.

Thanks Actualization for sharing.

You truly bring inspiration.


As the year 1905 began, Albert Einstein faced life as a “failed” academic. Yet within the next twelve months, he would publish four extraordinary papers, each on a different topic, that were destined to radically transform our understanding of the universe. In this Ted-Ed talk, Larry Lagerstrom details these four groundbreaking papers, making the case for how grit, resilience and a growth mindset can not only change one’s personal destiny, but indeed the destiny of civilization!

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