In this 18 minute clip, JJ Abrams, (creator of LOST), speaks of inspiration, imagination and his belief in mystery as a catalyst for imagination, infinite possibility, hope and potential. When he writes he sees a blank page waiting to be filled with something fantastic. He believes whatever he writes needs to be worthy of the technology he is using. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if our students to looked at writing in this way, writing as an expression of infinite possibility? Take a few minutes and enjoy watching this, I did.
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I did feel out of step on Monday talking about the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, ISTE NETS standards, and the role I believe both need to play as different content areas go through the curriculum review cycle within our district. Out of step because of the 57 people I was talking to, only 8 had any inkling of the relevance either of the organizations had in relations to education, or why the information they publish would have any bearing on what happens in classrooms. I don’t believe there is not room somewhere in our curriculums for things to change, for students to be given the opportunity to help create their learning, be part of their learning, as my hero Cathy Laguna does. Look at Cathy’s classroom, http://team8blue.wikispaces.com her students are doing wonderful meaningful work and best of all its FUN for them! How many times do you hear 8th grade students talk about having fun in science and math? Granted, Cathy is fearless and will try anything and always has a plan B if something doesn’t quite work out the way we planned, but she tries to engage her students using things they like in their lives. They make movies, podcasts, voicethreads, use smart notebook software, probes, graphing software. Her room looks like a studio, similar to what Clarence Fisher talked about in his K-12 Online presentation in October 2007. I wish I had more teachers like Cathy, Sue, Chad, Judy, theses are ones who make going to work a pleasure, always looking for ways to engage students more in their learning.
Our students are only with us a finite amount of time in their K-12 lives, they don’t have time for us to think about whether or not this may be a good idea to talk about for the next 5 years, we need to begin to move now. To bring teachers into the 21st century, then maybe they will see the possibilities for students. So where have you started in your districts? I have suggested holding an administrator’s academy on Web 2.0 this summer, what it means, what it has changed, and the implication for professional practice. Have not heard yet whether that is being considered a valid offering during administrative staff training days, but I hope it will be. What is anyone else doing in his or her districts to get conversations going, or are you having less resistance than I am? Any suggestions are truly welcome.
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Yesterday Brian Smith posted a question on his blog asking what an intelligent classroom might look like. I loved the question because I am in the process of pulling together questions I would like asked of prospective new administrators in my district and I definitely want this to be one of them. I responded to Brian with these thoughts
I agree with Sue and Sherry regarding administration supporting teachers and also having an understanding themselves of what an intelligent classroom looks like. We all battle the filter issue and it is a headache, we do need to teach students how to be responsible online citizens and you can’t do that if you can’t get to where they live in terms of their online lives. As far as what an intelligent classroom might look for me here are my thoughts. I would add DVD players, digital cameras, video cameras, microphones, speakers, document cameras, airliner slates to use with smartboards, amplification systems for teachers, cable television, projectors in every room or TV’s capable of connecting to a computer for access to display content. Access to skype on school computers for collaborative conversations with classrooms around the globe, access to royalty free images, audio, and video to use in projects such as podcasts for redistribution. Just a few on my list of what a classroom rich with technology would have. In thinking more about it in the past day I would also add webcams or other equipment to make video conferencing a possiblity and a telephone either cell or landline. Have you ever thought of what a technology rich or intelligent classroom would look like in your eyes? Please leave your thoughts if you have I am interested in adding to my list.
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If you have not had the opportunity to read Greg Farr’s post over at Leader Talk I highly suggest you take a look at his post from yesterday. I love the sentence “I will arrange the system in order to assure that I can serve as the educational leader rather than the school manager”.
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So many great conversations took place at NECC both in sessions and in the Bloggers Cafe, there seemed to be a palpable excitement which I contribute to the dramatic rise in blogging over the past year. To have conversations with people through their blogs you feel as though you know them, at NECC this year, many of us who blog or who are avid blog readers had the opportunity to meet face to face those people. It was like meeting old friends who you had not seen in a long time, and all of these connections have come through conversations, social networking at its best.
I am hopeful there will be an educonblogger 2 either next year at the conference or before, I will have to keep my eye on the blogosphere to make sure I can get wherever it may take place. I believe we all help each other move forward in our thinking and in developing strategies for change in each of our situations, I am constantly learning from those whose blogs I read.
Dr. Tim Tyson, principal of Mabry Middle School was the closing keynote speaker. He has been called “the Pied Piper of Educational Technology” by the School Library Journal. He talked of school 1.0 being centered on rules, routines and rituals, always focusing on the right answer. School 2.0 centers on engagment, authentic learning, communities of learners, and the focus is on meaningfulness, connectedness, significance, and contribution. Tim talked asked the question “at what point does a child feel their life is meaningful”? His answer is today, provide opportunities for children to feel as though they can contribute and change the world today. At Mabry Middle School children do that, they are empowered and encouraged through video projects to think about the world, issues everyone struggles with, and to find their voice make themselves heard, to make a difference. He shared samples of the videos his middle school students have produced on such topics and child labor in the chocolate industry, stem cell research, genetically modified foods, just to name a few. The students know they have a global audience, the best of the videos are posted on iTunes, and their school videos have had 4 million downloads, this is authentic learning, students wanting to contribute, the world listening to what they have to say.
Other ideas for students contibuting were discussed in sessions such as Vicki Davis and Julie Lindsay’s Flatclassroom Project. Students in Georgia and Bangladesh collaborrated on the flattners inThomas Friedman’s book, through the use of wikis, blogs and videoconferencing. Allowing students to connect to others and discuss opinions, thoughts, all the while meeting standards, communicating making connections, building social networks and communities, all 21st century skills, their work was meaningful. I want develop a sense of meaningfulness in projects offered in my district, I hope to model what others are doing with students.
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