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Learning at its Best

Education, Technology, Love.

Thank you for inviting me, Kirsten.

I have not posted since I was invited here late last summer, right before Dante, pictured below, was born – but I have been following the community and have been continually impressed with the level of discourse. It’s the most cohesive blog community I’ve ever read, and the level of thoughtfulness put into posts and comments has been both inspiring and intimidating.


…so I’m posting the little guy to defray those feelings.

This post is just meant to be an introduction, so… my name is Colin, I am 27. I  teach on San Juan Island, north of Seattle, and have had enormous freedom to innovate at my institution. I have been working on a project to change education. I would like to use this blog to begin to network those ideas with others, gain feedback and insight, share and grow.

My project has been related to education, technology and love. I have sought to answer one question: how might the inquiry driven, post-textbook, digital classroom operate? I came to a relatively simple answer.

  • It can utilize mostly free, visually stunning, web-based content
  • It needs a seamless way to deliver that content

That’s what I plan on addressing here. I will focus on my relationship to content, and I will focus on my relationship to digital tools that help me deliver content, assess and communicate.

Is anyone else completely off textbook like I am? What is your discipline? What are your strategies? What is your implementation of technology?


4 thoughts on “Education, Technology, Love.

  1. Colin, I am so glad you are here! Welcome! I hope you will also write about some of the beautiful work you were doing this summer when I met you at the Salmonberry School.

    What kind of learning environment should Dante be in when he’s 14? That is a question that preoccupies all of us.

    That kid looks pretty darn good.


    Posted by Kirsten | March 2, 2012, 1:59 pm
  2. Hey Colin,

    The little man looks like he’s been working out already. Six-pack abs!

    No textbooks AND no technology in my 3rd-5th grade classroom. What do we do all day?!

    Honestly, I do see plenty of appropriate ways one could use technology in the elementary classroom and I certainly see how this tool, well-used, can powerfully replace content that otherwise is spoon fed to kids from McGraw Hill and others.

    We are thankfully textbook free, though next year, I am likely to introduce Math texts to the 6th graders, as my text-free Math curriculum – the one purchased comprehensive curriculum in our school, only goes K-5. It’ll be interesting to see how the kids respond after having been mostly working with hands-on manipulatives, games, visual models and not-from-textbook practice work.

    I have made the decision to forego the screens and keyboards (though every one of my kids has access at home) in an attempt to root the classroom learning as much as possible in firsthand encounters and human-to-human relationships. We are working with our hands and bodies: dancing, yoga, nature experiences, gardening, knitting, woodworking, reading, writing (with pencils), science experiments, conversation, art, drama, music, etc etc. I haven’t felt that in the elementary grades the kids need the instant access to terrabytes of information that warrant devoting time and space in the classroom to the machines…at least for now.

    Playing devil’s advocate in regards to your two bullet points, does content need to be “visually stunning” to deeply engage kids? Why? And do we, as teachers, need to be in the content “delivery” business at all? Is “delivery” and “receipt” what the teaching-learning encounter is about? Should it be? I know these are the kinds of things you’ll be talking about here going forward. I’ll wait eagerly to read your stuff! Thanks so much for posting here.


    Posted by holisticdancingmonkeygmonkey | March 2, 2012, 9:31 pm
  3. I’m off textbooks and loving it! And, my school is in its third year of 1:1. My kiddos do amazing things – and they are engaged. Some things I do:

    Keep students engaged:
    Create classroom videos:
    Have students capture images of the school day:
    Create e-Portfolios:
    Contribute to a classroom website:

    Janet |

    Posted by Janet Abercrombie | March 4, 2012, 9:53 am
  4. Can’t wait to hear more – we’re just about textbook-less, unless students go to one by choice, but we’re not as inquiry-driven as I’d like for all students. Thanks, Colin!


    Posted by Chad Sansing | March 5, 2012, 9:26 am

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