Where does inspiration lie? Everywhere!

This is my attempt to pounce on and then shape the words I breathe.

Please join me with your comments and make this a dialogue . . . and visit Susan's Poetry!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Forbidden chat!

So, during a classroom session on Tapped-In that I actually held IN my classroom with a cart full of MacBooks--4 were stolen. (The ins and outs of this are too complex to lay out here--except to say I rushed a sign-out procedure I should have followed and trusted a person I shouldn't have.) In the subsequent investigation, I received one and only one urgent communication from the principal: "YOU ARE TO CEASE ALL CLASS CHAT ACTIVITY IMMEDIATELY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE." Following this edict to the letter, I have removed the chat from class. I still require the blog assignment and--on Tuesday nights (not in the classroom)--I am still on-line for homework help. I have not been given a chance to respond, nor to ask "why now?" The principal gave me one moment of explanation: No one can convince him that chat can enhance the teaching and learning of reading and writing at any grade level--elementary, junior, or senior high level! You know from this blog site, that he and I have been discussing this for almost three years, but it seems--because of the theft--now he realizes I always meant to follow through and actually use web learning. Perhaps there are more legal issues than I am aware of? I'll be back . . . .

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Check out the study reported here: http://www.intute.ac.uk/socialsciences/blog/2008/09/30/web-20-in-secondary-education/ by Paul Ayres.  Although none of the statistics are surprising, this study is a great starting point for discussion as we try to kick our use of technology up a notch in our classrooms.

I spent today setting up an English 2 class discussion in Tapped In.  At that site, the K12 campus is closed to all but those registered which makes it safe from anyone but us "owners" and "managers."  Tapped In remains focused on teacher research, and so allows nothing on the K12 Campus that might endanger that focus.  I have asked the tech leader at FLC to visit and to join the my class at the site, because he can check that I haven't violated School District policy.  Further, he can help me set up a whole-class orientation seminar to be facilitated by Tapped In Help Desk people.   Very friendly and helpful people!

Friday, July 18, 2008

I'm back!

I see a summertime pattern here--it has been a year since I had time, inclination, and inspiration to add a post. Today the inspiration came from Teacher Librarian making a final comment in a course she took on using Web 2.0. Her entire post is revealing, but this part helped me the most in thinking about the next year at FLC:

But I hadn’t made the leap of understanding that I did when I watched the Stephen Heppell video the other day. Listening to him discuss metacognition and how we can work with the twenty first century learner or we can choose to ignore that Google exists and continue to teach as we have for years. Putting Heppell’s ideas together with Lana saying how she teaches a few kids in each class to be organizers of the wiki (leaders and teachers), and Lisa saying how she wants to do cross curricular collab in secondary, and Lisa also wondering what would happen if she collaboratively planned a unit with her students using a wiki, created a big shift for me. I have known since my career began at a little alternative school in Vancouver, that teachers are not all knowing beings who share their knowledge with students, but that teachers are facilitators of student learning. But for teachers to collaborate with students to create new learnings had not occurred to me until yesterday.

Me either.

Franklin Learning Center has won a joint grant with another school to develop project-based real world learning in our classrooms steeped technology. Teachers now have MacBooks to create with and have been promised interactive white boards in the fall. As I think of the changes I need to make in my approach to the core curriculum and creative writing, I will try to incorporate student collaboration on the creation of each unit. I think this will help them learn more about what "the standards" are that we base our activities on and evaluate for. And it will help me learn how to take them beyond the standards.

Last year I researched Web 2.0, but this year I am REQUIRED to move forward. What a change! I am not in shock exactly, but am a little overwhelmed. The trainer facilitating our move forward into new territory, Mike Muir of Maine, reminds us to "eat one piece of the pie at a time," but we have to show progress in this direction.

My new questions are: How confusing will it be for students to hear about this initiative differently in each of their classes, to continue doing traditional work toward the standards along with some innovations? Will they be as patient with our individual learning curves as we try to be with theirs?