What’s DevOps?

DevOps is a new , highly paid IT job but it’s a concept we all need to understand. It’s about smoothing the path between developers and users so that the software is better suited to the environment in which it works and the  people who use it can get the best out of it for what they want to do. In an economy it’s about making yourself the one who is seen, heard and used. ACADGILD explains it really well but then pushes its company. I have used the video by Sanjeev Sharma. He explains it really well and has a lot of experience in the field. The world has changed and the world is changing. We want to use technology in a way which suits us and we want it to be able to do what we want it to be able to do. Developers can come up with ideas and projects . Some of those now are launched as test/lite projects to gain valuable feedback for further development. We do not live in a static world. We now live in a world of communication, collaboration and constant improvement which is why the concept of DevOps has to be understood. Developers can create things but they may not suit the market, the audience or the environment. They may create software which is half way decent and then we need  input to get it to be the best software for the time and place. I sometimes contact developers because I can make suggestions as to how I think something can improve in its functionality or if the software works well on one device and has limitations on another. Software development is complex. Developers work hard and long hours. I don’t expect my changes to occur and I usually only offer suggestions if I am asked. TheAstronauts blog explains why developers are not really interested in your unsolicited ideas. The explanation hits home. The feedback loop is becoming part of most organisations and businesses now and needs to be a part of everything. I have given feedback and thought, well, that’s not going to help, because the feedback form is too limited or doesn’t actually allow you to pinpoint the problems or clearly make observations. That’s when I blog or tweet if I want to. If I think something needs to be changed I put it out there into the ether. It will be picked up. It will be read. It will be considered. People can only do what they do and we have to avoid swamping them. If I have used classroom software which doesn’t quite work in that situation I haven’t hesitated to contact someone who would be able to make the changes and have a conversation. Today that is essential. It is important to be pleasant, polite, concise and prepared to wait . Offering suggestions is part of the process now. I have been stunned by how quickly some things are changed for the better. I have been pleased to see how many sites now include that feedback loop. In the end we’ll all get good at this idea of DevOps. We are no longer a world of victims when it comes to development. We are now part of a collaborative process.

Live feedback works

dataAs you can see, four of my students have finished the task I set this morning and they all have another couple of days to finish it.The results will be emailed to me.  We use a paid online learning site for French and the live feedback encourages and motivates them. They love it when I refresh the screen and they can see how much further they are along the way. The site also gives them personal feedback on their iPad or laptop but they like to see it all on the big screen and it works very positively. They will ask me to refresh the screen so they can see. They will ask me to refresh the screen to demonstrate they have finished a task I have set. We have also had some interesting moments where students think they have finished and I show them the data and quite clearly they haven’t, so some of it is about understanding how technology works to process information.  It also means I can see who hasn’t started 10 minutes into the task. We can work out why. I can problem solve issues and approaches. I can also notice that some students like to study what they have to learn before they do it and others like to learn as they go along. Others still like to do a bit of both. Sometimes they help each other or ask really good questions and sometimes they just go silent and focus by themselves. Live feedback on activities has made students aware of how they are using their time and has given them a way into interpreting data. They will now always look at the data and question if it is representing what they are doing. For me I have become even more aware of how students are learning with technology. I don’t just use the paid site. I find other online sites, set the task and get them to take screenshots which they show me or put on their blogs. Not every task suits this live feedback approach but we have done vocab lists, aural comprehensions, sentence structure and contextual language this way. It has improved their linguistic competence and it has improved their linguistic confidence. I have been able to see that some students can hear and interpret sentences and phrases as fast as I can and I have seen my year 10s take on several sentences of complex French and complete the task. As we use the live feedback we are getting open information about how we are learning and what I have been teaching and it deepens both the educational engagement and the responses to learning.

Get student feedback

Reminders-icon Image: Iconarchive

Student feedback is worth its weight in gold. It can reaffirm what you were thinking and doing as a teacher, but you can gather some other ideas to set directions for the future. Students are not static. They are not the same thing from one year to the next, one generation to the next, one group to the next. They are living beings. When you get feedback you can endorse yourself but you can also keep yourself current. They will express their needs ands wants . It can be surprising. It will keep you moving. You will change naturally. I use Edmettle because it is safe and secure. I can pose questions and get feedback, practice class content a little bit, get suggestions and I can also endorse each student individually. Every student has a voice. Yesterday I was asking them about the online State competitions for languages, what they thought they had achieved well in French this term and about a little French-Japanese anime video I had shown them. A student of Chinese background said the anime was more like a Chinese anime rather than a French or Japanese one. Information for me. A new look at the world. They were proud of their achievements in the state competitions but wanted a better plan next year. They appreciated the fact we used some class time for it and thought it was important because they could see the impact LIVE on the IBW. Then they asked for reminders. So many of them asked for reminders. Can’t you remind us to do it at home? Can’t you send us an email or an alert ? Can’t you use the LMS to remind us? Can’t you send us a reminder to do it for 10 minutes NOW? Can’t the school set an event so that all languages students are online at a certain time? These are gaming students. These are students born after 2000 who have grown up with the internet, mobile technology and games. They love things with awards and points. They love challenges to “level up”, they love data and feedback and love it even more if it is LIVE. They like being on a leader board for learning. While we were busy on the state competitions I was putting little to do lists on their lesson plans on the LMS because we had to be REALLY efficient to do the state competitions and complete our work. They hauled brilliantly. We were spectacularly, impressively productive last week. So today, I did need that feedback. You    cannot run classes like that all the time but you do need to understand how to get the best out of students, yourself ,systems and resources. I got a big surprise , though. My todo lists got a big thumbs up. I thought I was doing something normal. They thought I was being fantastic and that it was much more helpful than anything else. It makes sense now. They are gaming students. They want a gaming list of things to collect.They don’t want to look at the assessment plan I put up or the weekly tasks list or the assignment sheet. They want a NOW list. Things to do now, feedback now, information now, challenges now. I have to operate in real time with my levels, challenges, lists, artefacts, content. They are then asking for the system to provide reminders for asynchronous learning. What a great thought and the world needs to get onto it. Me too.

ORID feedback gets thumbs up

thumbs-upThe ORID feedback format I blogged about the other day surpassed my expectations with what actually came back as feedback. We finished seeing the presentations about ourselves in French which we had created on our new MacBooks in Year 9. We had learned how to present ourselves, we had tried our best to learn how to make Powerpoint, KeyNote and iMovies. This was the first big assignment on our MacBooks. I wanted to get the class to decide as a whole what WE could focus on to make our presentations better next time. We used the ORID format on Twiducate for the responses and students warmed to that immediately. We then used that feedback to come up with the top 5 learning gaps we needed to fill. Here are some examples of how the feedbck went so you can see how specific it is:

O: I really liked each presentation that had music. I liked them because each song was different and it made it easier to focus on the presentations with music. I remember the photos/pictures being really effective. R+: I think Anna’s presentation was really good because of the effects she used with the writing. I liked Sarah’s presentation because she made a movie, and she used videos in her presentation. I also liked the presentations that had effects because it was more entertaining then just watching the same thing over and over. I also liked that everyone’s presentation was really different.It showed that we are all creative in different ways. R-: I found it was harder to concentrate on the presentations that didn’t have music than the presentations with music. I found that some presentations were very similar to others which made it somewhat harder to focus after 3 or 4 people. I: Headline: Learning about our classmates. Making this presentation has helped me with my French and I have learnt more about everyone in the class. D: I would ask for help with putting music on the slideshow and I would motivate myself to use my time better.

1.O~ the presentations were very different , some of the music didn’t work in people’s presentations but they were all unique and special. The French music was exquisite and had the slides were colourful and bright. 2.R+~ i liked it how people used different programs like: keynote, powerpoint and imovie. Also how different people are in this class and how we got to see what they like doing and also about their family. 3.R-~ some bad things about the presentations were that people were not prepared and some people’s slides were hard to read and some pictures were blurry. Also the music didn’t work for some 4.I- I have learnt about what people like doing and also how to use imovie and powerpoint and what special effects they offer. I enjoyed the presentations very much and got to see how creative people are in this class. It was great fun and I am very keen and excited to see what everyone’s Paris presentations are going o be like! 5.D- I think our class could improve their presentation by being more creative and being more organised plus learning maybe how to use keynote, powerpoint and imovie better to make our Paris project AMAZING!!!!!

O All the presentations had colourful images, original text designs and each were very visually appealing. R+ The positive things about the assignment were how each person took the assignment in a different direction, and how we were able to book in, giving us further commitment. R- The negative things about the assignment were the lack of music on many presentations (due mostly to not understanding how to add music) and how some designs were very plain, simple and boring. I The presentations were high-quality and were extremely good. I learned how to use some basic introductory lines in French, which will help me in the future if I decide to visit France. D Next time I will make sure to get the information and music done in alternating times, to make time for asking questions about things I may not understand how to use (music).

ORID encourages detailed feedback , as you can see. It means you and your students are able to hone in better on what needs to be changed or embellished. Once the students had put their feedback up I got them to “like” the comments of 2 other students, comment one other student’s comment and comment on the feedback  of the person whose presentation they had really liked. When we looked at finding the 5 things we would improve for next time it was just so easy! They loved writing the headline which is part of the feedback. “Amazing Year 9 French Presentations you have to see to believe”

Get quality feedback

ORIDWhen you are teaching it is essential to engage students in a feedback loop. Create information and content, share it and then get feedback. That feedback loop is critical to providing better and more informed lessons where everyone is using technology and may be looking at content differently. So many people absorb information visually and so many people are using technology in a different way so each person’s strengths can become an asset in a classroom if you know what the strengths and learning gaps are. Getting good feedback means you have to have an organised and specific approach to getting ideas in a way that you can utilise them to construct better lessons. ORID is an evaluation tool which has some real strengths and which I have just reworked so it can be used in my classroom. I found out about it because it was in the recent newsletter from FacilitatorU. I have been subscribing to their emails for quite a few years now and they always come up with ideas which give me practical help to be a better teacher and to relate to my students in an effective way. Over the years their way of doing things has proven to be very effective when I have worked with groups. I used the life cycle chart from Microsoft Office to create my ORID feedback.

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