From The Editor: What’s Happening At TeachThought
by Terry Heick
By now, you’ve probably noticed the redesign. More on that in a moment. We’ve been working on a redesign for months, but had the urgency increased last week when the site became infected with malware due to a hack. You might’ve noticed this as a popup of some kind–warning you that you had a virus (you didn’t), or wanting you to buy something. That was the result of the malware. We’d remove it, and every time we thought it was gone, it’d pop back up overnight. So that was fun.
We don’t store any user information, so there was nothing to compromise there, but the popup ads were awful. We’ve taken a variety of steps to make sure that it doesn’t happen again, but digital security is like the perfect classroom: It doesn’t (yet) exist.
So, about that redesign.
Our Immediate Goals For The Redesigned Site
- More clear and direct access to the content you’re looking for
- A personalized experience based on your individualized needs
- Embedded video, podcasts, and curriculum (through a variety of means)
- Improved aesthetics, function, and security
One step towards one of the goals–access to the content you’re looking for–can be seen in the new menu at the top with categorized content. We’ve separated content into categories, but are also beginning to further drill-down that content based on your experience level, grade level, and content area.
Right now, clicking on those links may only bring up a few bits of content depending on what you’re looking for. That’s because we’ve got to back and re-categorize 2400 posts, which takes a while. We hope to have that done in the next 10 days or so (give or take 10 weeks). When we do, our entire backlog of content will be searchable, skimmable, and hopefully more useful to you in your growth. In general, this new design is going to open up a lot of possibilities for us in the near future. Stay tuned.
(And I say “we”–fundamentally, TeachThought = Terry Heick. I often say “we” because of the extraordinary people that directly or indirectly contribute to “our” work here, but TeachThought is an “idea” as much as it is anything else–one that benefits greatly from the learning ecology I participate in on social media, at conferences, on the TeachThought Podcast, and more. We–or rather, I–learn from all of you.
A Slight Shift In Focus
Which brings me to the next point. I’ve changed the focus some here at TeachThought–at least in part. In the past I’ve focused on critical thinking, learning models, and thought leadership. That part is not going to change, but the context for that thinking is now you. Growing strong teachers is our goal. This both underpins and arches over everything we do. Why? Well, because we love you. But also because a teacher is the most direct path to helping students live better lives, which is hopefully what we’re all doing here.
The development of learning models and new thinking in education is kind of a broader goal, but that should serve you as well. There are some extraordinary sites out there that focus on traditional approaches to teaching as it is. I don’t want to replace them, but rather supplement them with some (hopefully) new thinking that, together, can push us higher as a profession. Put another way, I’m interested in teaching as it is as insofar as it relates to teaching how it might be. Like a bridge.
In that way, I may share a grab-and-go tool or lesson idea, an app, a questioning strategy, or a new framework for project-based learning. As a site, we may push your thinking about the role of assessment in instructional design. We may write a speculative piece about the near future of education. But most broadly, our intention is to keep you informed about thinking and innovation in teaching and learning, and otherwise support you in developing the kind of sustained capacity that will change children’s lives.
Together, you and I–and other contributors–will consider questions like:
Where is education going?
What should school “do”? Why?
What should students know? Why?
What should they do with what they know? How?
Should we teach content, or teach thought?
How does the presence of technology change my craft?
What’s possible teaching and learning in a connected world, and where do I as a teacher fit in that picture?
Together, let’s usher in a whole new pedagogy.