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Archive for November, 2007

Darren Draper’s blog post yesterday entitled Who’s Afraid of Digital Natives echoed some thoughts I have had myself about teaching, learning, education in general. I left a response over there, please go and take a look, here I have cross posted what I said there.
Darren, as we all know the future is now, the world has changed and it is not going back. We in education have to face the fact that it is not acceptable to teach the way we were taught. We are doing students a disservice in not using the tools they use in their daily lives, whether it is cell phone, iPod, MP3 player, digital camera, or online tools. We talk of modeling learning for students, the educational community needs to update their skills with the use of tools to engage students in their learning. I agree with you we do need to start thinking about what we do, and how we do it, and it will require time on everyone’s part. Yesterday Carolyn Foote was conducting a workshop and I had the pleasure of participating in a Skype call along with David Jakes, Patrick Higgins, and John Maklary. The conversation centered on connections, how we connect, the benefits of connecting with others outside of our own workplaces, and how the connections help us learn. The primary concern I hear most often from teachers, when introducing something new to use in instruction, is they have no time to learn about technology, it is still considered an add on by many, something else to teach.

David made a great point yesterday, he said we all have to make time to learn these new tools, take 15 minutes a day to focus on our own learning, over time it adds up. Those of us that understand the positive benefits of these educational technologies have taken the time to learn how to use them, taken time to understand their implication for use in teaching and learning. Yes, we are the ones who like technology, over the top to some, but we try, we make the effort, because we see the future, we know we have to do more to engage students. We are trying to make their learning relevant to their everyday lives, because the world has changed, and schools have to change as well.

Our students are connected all the time, I am sure they could explain the contributions they feel their connections bring to their lives and learning. So why not encourage their development, as you said, teach them responsible use, not ignore reality, its too easy to say no iPods or cell phones in school, students will use them to cheat. Instead when do we start to teach them to be good digital citizens, teach them ethical use of the tools? If we would only begin to imagine the possibilities.

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I haven’t blogged in several weeks; a personal issue has been in the forefront for me, one I am going to share with all of you. I am asking anyone who reads this for help in the form of good thoughts, prayers for Kyle’s family and for his safe return. The more time that passes the greater the chances are that the outcome will be anything but devastating; we continue to have hope and lean on faith for strength. On November 9, Kyle Fleischmann, disappeared in Charlotte, NC a friend of our family. Kyle’s best friend, Daniel Scagnelli, turned to Facebook for help, asking friends of friends to spread the word about his disappearance. As a result hundreds of people turned out to search in Charlotte, many have joined the space, leaving comments on the site has been a comfort to his family, the outpouring of support has been incredibly valuable to them. His mother, who has cancer, underwent surgery on November 16 as well. As a parent, I cannot imagine what this family is going through, not knowing; not wanting to think the worst, yet with each passing day it is harder to believe this will have a happy ending.

If your children are of college age talk to them about the importance of being safe, young men especially I believe feel they are invincible, and are not as careful as they should be when out for an evening, regardless if they are in a city or small town. It is important to not be out late alone, it is important to always be aware of your surroundings and to always be thinking clearly to react to whatever situation may present itself so one is safe. As overprotective as this sounds, it is true.

So please take a moment and think of Kyle and his family, and when you are with your family today remember, never leave anyone’s company with harsh words, or thoughts, let irritations go, life can change in a heartbeat and nothing will ever be the same.

Philadelphia Inquirer article from the weekend, how Facebook is also used as a positive tool.


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Happy Thanksgiving

2049274753_b3a5210e3b_m.jpgMy Thanksgiving post, what the holiday means to me, being aware of the blessings God has bestowed on me and my family and what I am thankful for. This is my favorite holiday it centers on time with family and friends, love, laughter and remembering. Our house is always bursting at the seams on holidays, I am a firm believer no one should spend a holiday alone, so our home is open to friends who have no family in the area or who don’t want to spend the day alone and my kids are always amazed at the number who share the holidays with us. It is also a day of remembering those who are not with us, sharing memories so they continue to live on through us. I wish you all a wonderful holiday and hope you too are able to spend the day with those you love, whether they are family or friends.

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Paws for a Cure

Today is a local dog walk, Paws for a Cure, the walk raises money for Cure Search, the world’s largest childhood cancer research organization which brings together the Children’s Oncology Group and the National Childhood Cancer Foundation. This is a personal fund raiser for me organized in my area by my dear friends Sharon and Rob whose oldest daughter Sarah died of cancer 5 years ago at the age of 12 after battling the disease for 7 years. CureSearch is a relatively new organization providing assistance and information for parents. When Sarha was sick there was a great deal of information on the web about cancer, but children’s cancer is different than adult so in order to find to information about a child’s particular type was harder to find. Sarah was a blessing to all whose lives she touched, we love you Sarah. You can see a picture of Sarah here, at Alex’s Lemonade Stand website, Sarah and Alex knew one another, they and their familes were connected through CHOP, Sharon and Rob are active with Alex’s Lemonade Stand as well. If you care to make a donation to help fight childhood cancer.

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