Archive for November, 2008


“Resisting change in your life wastes valuable energy. When people focus on stopping the change rather than being open and trying to understand the change they are missing opportunities”.

In September a team of people from my district began a year long job embedded professional development opportunity through Powerful Learning Practice,  “a professional development model that immerses educators into environments and practices that allow them to learn and own the literacies of 21st Century learning and teaching”.

I have struggled in the past several years with how to move conversations forward in terms of teaching and learning with 21st century skills. Many times I have felt when I speak of 21st century skills in education others automatically think of using computers more, when in reality, the technology is not the focus, it is merely a tool to be used to assist in the process or shift in teaching and learning. My hope is through our districts participation in PLP, we as a team, will begin to understand the shifts and see value in understanding the work of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, and enGauge 21st Century Skills,  to begin to see connections between our district goals and the incorporation of digital literacies, inventive thinking, effective communication, and high productivity. Our work is taking place for the most part in virtual spaces, using Ning for our collaborative work space and conversations. The learning curve, getting everyone comfortable in this space has taken time, and not everyone is comfortable yet, but all have been willing to try.  The conversations taking place, the tools that have been introduced, the time required to read, think, respond have been obstacles to overcome and figure out how to manage for all of us. Asking ourselves how do these conversations fit into our district philosophy and direction, determining if they do all have relavance, and knowing it is up to each of us to understand how and where they fit into our teaching/learning practice.  Everyone involved in this project are stretching the limits of how they are comfortable learning, and I believe all of our team members are being open and trying to understand the shifts.

My hope is at the end of this project I will have others who feel as passionately as I do about the changes we need to make in education, to embrace the shifts in pedagogy we are learning about and involve others in our district on this journey. We can’t afford to waste our energy or miss opportunities because we are complacent and disinclined to change.

How are your colleagues when it comes to change, learning new things? Are they willing and at the forefront of shifts in educational pedagogy?


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Google Search Tips

Every teacher should watch this, it is wonderful, teach your students what you learn!

What tip did you learn from watching this?

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I received this in an email this morning and wanted to pass it along. The National Council of Social Studies also released a map earlier this year in cooperation with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills. They align with the ISTE-NETS for Students, are any districts using or adopting these standards? Any districts having curriculum conversations which incorporate them?

We are thrilled to announce the release of the 21st Century Skills and English Map,
which provides educators with teacher-created models of how 21st century skills can
be infused into English classes. The map could not have been completed without the
help of the National Council of Teachers of English – the Partnership for 21st Century Skills
is truly grateful for all their efforts to produce such a useful tool.

The map – which demonstrates how the integration of 21stcentury skills into English
curriculum supports teaching and learning and prepares students to become effective
and productive citizens in the 21st century – highlights the critical connections between
English and 21st century skills.

By providing lesson examples that combine core skills like critical thinking, creativity and
innovation with interdisciplinary themes (civic, economic and entrepreneurial literacy and
global awareness), the map provides concrete examples of how to align teaching and learning to the demands of the 21st century.

In addition, the map cites specific student outcomes and provides project models that will
result in enhanced student achievement in grades four, eight and 12. For example, fourth
graders, after reading several folktales and viewing two to three cartoons, write their own
contemporary version of a folktale and present them as a stop-motion or Claymation film.
This helps students, through typical reading and project work, learn how to communicate
new ideas to others and demonstrate originality and inventiveness in schoolwork.

To integrate 21st century skills at the high school level, teams of students create a virtual
fieldtrip for elementary school students. In addition to creating a video and narration detailing the site, students research background information and interview appropriate experts such as park rangers, tour guides and historians. The students then use a project management tool to organize tasks, assignments and deadlines. Through this project, students assume shared responsibility for collaborative work and demonstrate the ability to work effectively with diverse teams and creativity to plan an interactive fieldtrip for younger students.

We encourage all of you to distribute the new map among your contacts.
Please access the map by visiting the home page of the P21 Website at

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I had the pleasure of attending the release of the Code of Best Practices in Fair Use for Media Literacy in Education on November 11, 2008 at the Constitution Center, in Philadelphia, PA. The project was started by Professor Pat Aufderheide at the Center for Social Media at American University in Washington, D.C. who worked with documentary filmmakers to create the Documentary Filmmakers’ Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use.

The following organizations have been working to develop this new code for educators for the past two years:
Action Coalition for Media Education
Media Education Foundation
National Association for Media Literacy Education
National Council of Teachers of English

John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

Visual Communication Studies Division of the International Communication Association
Renee Hobbs, professor at Temple University Media Education Lab, and Peter Jaszi, professor of Law at American University’s Washington College of Law hosted the morning, leading conversations among panelists

There are 5 main principles that may be used in some circumstances:
Educators can, under some circumstances:
1. Make copies of newspaper articles, TV shows, and other copyrighted works, and use them and keep them for educational use.
2. Create curriculum materials and scholarship with copyrighted materials embedded.
3. Share, sell and distribute curriculum materials with copyrighted materials embedded.
Learners can, under some circumstances:
4. Use copyrighted works in creating new material.
5. Distribute their works digitally if they meet the transformativeness standard.

I believe the issue of creating transformative work is the core here. I have attached the document, has anyone heard of this, or have any thoughts to share about it?

Stanford University also has a fair use document which speaks to transformative use with a good description of what it means.

Copyright and fair use are confusing topics. As I sat listening during this presentation the one thought which kept running through my mind was how many in education pay any attention to either of these issues? Where are these things taught in the curriculum? Are teachers knowledgeable enough on the topic to have conversations with students? Is this something any of the districts in this cohort address? If so I would appreciate hearing how it is handled.

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