After returning from a conference that generates as much energy as NECC always does I sit at my desk and think, now what? How can I take what I learned and use the conversations I was part of, the excitement I felt and turn it into something meaningful for students and teachers in my district? Like many, I was the only person from my district to attend, so it is my responsiblity to try to now take what I experienced and make it something tangible for others to find value in. I believe in the conversations taking place, and there have been some very thoughtful ones in the past week from people who blog and embrace the need for a change in education to engage students in their learning more than ever before Chris Lehmann, David Warlick, Ben Wilkoff, Jeff Utecht and how do we begin to show others the value of these resources for collaboration or their own professional development? In my district, the webpage is still the focus of the classroom, posted homework, class assignments, calendar of events, daily schedule….still in the “I give information” framework, not the collaborative environment of the read/write web. Our teachers have had laptops for 8 years, they have the ability to be connected whenever they chose and have access whenever they chose. How do you move people to be collaborative, in a shared world wide environment? There is talk of implementing Microsoft sharepoint, not what I consider collaborative in the larger sense of the world. I know it is something network administrators like because it is internal and there is control. For me personally the power of blogs, wikis, twitter has been tremendous for my personal learning, for my continued growth and sense of belonging to a community of learners.
I always try to look through the eyes of students and what might excite them whenever I suggest using a different resource or tool for a teacher. My own children are 26 and 21, so they were long out of high school before many of these applications were introduced and I feel they missed a great deal too in what they were exposed to at school and were given the choice to use in their learning. I am passionate about engaging students because my own were not for the most part and should have been. I am introducing wikis and blogs this summer and have a two foreign language teachers, two middle school teachers and an third grade teacher willing to give them a try. I believe in modeling for teachers in helping them get whatever resource they need set up for them so the implementation goes as smoothly as possible. I am hopeful that once these few start with these new web 2.0 tools in their classrooms others will want to as well.
What do you do to encourage others to infuse technology into their classroom activities? Any help or tips would be greatly appreciated!