Every night this week and last I have been packing. I have been
packing up my family to move us to someplace better, with more room
and more possibilities (and more than one bathroom). This move has
gotten me thinking a lot about what to keep and what to let go of.
Without extending a metaphor too far out, it has also gotten me
thinking about how to move an entire school or even a district from
digital learning systems that they currently use, to ones that have
more possibility and room to grow.
And, what can we leave behind in this move. When you move from an
email based system of communication to a feed and “friend” based
system of communication (twitter, facebook, or even project wikis),
what is no longer neccessary?
When you move from a server based architecture for storing learning
objects to a cloud based repository, what is gained and what is lost?
The specifics are becoming more and more clear to me as I pack things
up. As I pack up our assessments for the online school, getting them
ready to move again, we can leave behind proprietary formats. We need
to be able to plug them in anywhere and reuse them for many purposes.
As I pack up all of our content, I realize that we can leave all html
pages without an edit button on them.
And, as I try to put all of our tools and resources for collaborative
and connected learningn into their box to be ported over to a new LMS
or to new PD spaces, I am realizing that there is no box big enough to
hold all of them.
Every tool must be allowed to connect to others, just like every
person must be able to connect. If there are tools that do not
connect, they will be packed away permanantly and placed under the
Well, I am off to pack some more, but I will continue to think about
what can and can’t be thrown out when we make big shifts in education.
I hope to return to this theme soon when I figure more out.
This is a really interesting question.
First, if you are looking for engaging videos to show for professional development, I would look here:
As for introducing the subject of engaging students with technology, I think that you would really have to find a good itch that you think all of the teachers want to scratch. What is the one thing that they can do with technology and students that they couldn't do before? Why should they care about technology?
Places like http://classroom20.com, or http://supportblogging.com, or even something as specific as http://voicethread4education.wikispaces.com/ would work well to figure out just how deep the topic goes with your teachers.
As for an article, I like http://blog.futurestreetconsulting.com/?p=94, many of the posts from http://weblogg-ed.com, or any of the presentations at slideshare about educational technology.
If you are really interested in starting this conversation, I would recommend that you start up a discussion group over at Google Groups or set up a wiki for this purpose. Or, simply get an e-mail group going if that is where your teachers are at. Creating an avenue for this kind of conversation is the only way to make it last. Let me know where you want to go from here. Creating change is not an easy business.
I am in need of your expertise:
I am preparing a session for teachers within my school district on engaging students with technology. My emphasis is on 'ENGAGING' not on putting a child in front of a computer with headphones. Some of our staff has forgotten that instruction still needs to take place even if your are using technology.
My question is…. How would introduce this subject… I would like to show a video to break the ice… Something like MR. BEAN or SEINFELD that would a lead into the subject.
Do you have any suggestions?
Also, I am looking for a professional article to share with teachers along the same subject.
I would appreciate any help that you could give. Thanks so much for inspiring me with your articles and presentations.
George Orwell’s Animal Farm is a story mostly about tyranny and the corruption of utopian ideals, but in the very beginning there is a passage that means something very different to me. It deals with the leadership of Mr. Jones before the rebellion, before the animals decide to take the farm into their own hands.
“The fields were full of weeds, the buildings wanted roofing, the hedges were neglected, and the animals were underfed.”
This quotation represents all of the things that happen when Mr. Jones gets too distracted to work, to maintain his environment, and to make life better for all those involved. To me, this is about not tending the community. It is about letting things lie fallow which must be uprooted and overturned to see what is underneath them.
Our communities are just like this I think, both in our classroom and outside of them. The communities within our classroom, especially the collaborative ones that we are all striving for, require an immense amount of tending. The Discovery Utopia wiki that my students are working on (and the reason that we are reading Animal Farm in the first place) is not an exception. If I do not constantly draw attention to the great things that are going on there, the community seems to just pass right on by them. If I do not look for the troubling points, the issues that nearly every student seems to be struggling with, students stop using the community. They find other ways to occupy their time. And that is one of the most interesting parts about our communities. They are communities of choice.
All communities of choice are ones that can be thriving in one minute and vacant in the next. So, how do we tend for consistency? Well, we feed the animals (is it weird that I am referring to my students as animals). We put up new buildings for them to play in. We design the space so that it is inviting and provokes the best kind of authentic creativity: their own.
I think that the lesson is pretty clear. If we do not tend to our communities, they will fail. The inhabitants will rebel and either stop using them, or turn them into something that rejects their purpose. And, if Animal Farm is any indication, the inhabitants of a untended community will become just like us and not tend to their communities. I mean that in both a virtual and real-world sense.
I hope this comes across as something other than a Language Arts teacher’s metaphorical analysis.
My anticipation is rising. The time is drawing near when Learning 2.0 will be here. I will not attempt to recreate Karl’s amazingly concise post (if you have read my blog for any length of time, you will know that brevity is not always my first priority).
The purpose of this post is just to keep the awareness at an all time high that things are happening in Colorado. We aren’t trying to be the EdTech mecca, just to have a unified (whatever that means) voice for change. Let’s see what happens.
“Just a reminder for those of you attending – either physically or virtually – that Learning 2.0: A Colorado Conversation is coming up this Saturday, February 23rd, from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm MST. If you registered, you should’ve received this email a few days ago with some updated information. And here’s the schedule for the day’s activities.
For those of you interested in attending virtually, we will be attempting to Ustream the seven sessions – channel info here.
Please keep in mind that our first priority is pulling off the physical
conference, so if the Ustream happens it will be a bonus, but we’re
going to give it a shot.
We have about 170 folks registered,
although I imagine a few will change their minds at the last minute.
The weather looks like it’s going to cooperate, everything is planned
out and we think (emphasis on think) we’ve thought of everything. It’s going to be interesting . . .”