blogs and wikis: a teacher’s perspective

Steve Ransom pointed me towards this video of a grade 1 teacher and how she uses blogs and wikis in her classroom. There is also some parent and student commentary. Her advice is to start small, with a blog for your classroom, and let yourself grow with it.

I’d like to hear her principal’s perspective as well!

(Oh, and I certainly hope she doesn’t work in this superintendent’s district. If she does she may need to watch out.)

“Put technology where it can be best used… In the classroom!”

[cross ranted as a comment at Stephen Ransom’s EdTechTrek] [and slightly elaborated]

I am starting to think that because many teachers and administrators
still do not know exactly what we can do with technology there is a
reluctance to put it in the classroom.

Example – today the Internet had, for some reason, stopped working
in the west wing of our school. I was at the computer lab with one
other teacher. She packed her kids up and went back because she only
books the computer lab for the last period of the day so that her kids
can ‘play on the internet’.

For her, technology has nothing to do with learning, it is a form of
entertainment. I stayed with my kids and used the time to work on our
Science vocabulary while teaching them how to hyperlink in
presentations. They were linking their vocabulary words to comments and images made by their peers, creating a collaborative learning network around the new terminology they are learning in Science. (Not bad for a wing it activity, eh ;)

For some reason, this teacher has not caught on yet that technology
can be much more than a way to waste time. I can understand the frustration of the new teachers that Stephen mentions in his post, but
until the more experienced teachers and administrators at schools begin
to use technology as a learning tool, really use it, and demand that
good forms of it be available in the schools, it isn’t going to happen.

I can also understand the frustration of the more experienced teachers who are
expected to use technology but who aren’t really given the time to grow
less afraid of it and to experiment with what can be done. There is a huge divide between our students who live and breathe with technology as part of their daily lives and the teachers who don’t. Huge. and while
there are still administrators who don’t use technology in their daily lives and who don’t champion for its appropriate use and availability in the school, let alone the classroom…well…that divide can only be expected to widen.

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New Wiki –> TeachingFutures

turn your head

A while ago I created a post in response to recurring themes I was seeing in many blogs around creating change in our schools towards authentic, meaningful learning situations for our students and teachers.

Here is that post.

Today I finally got around to creating a wiki to continue the conversation (thanks to John Brandt for the reminder).

I’ve called it TeachingFutures and am inviting all of my wonderful readers to join and add to the conversation. I think I made it public to join, but if it isn’t, post a comment asking for an invite.

As you can probably tell from that last line, I am a wikinewbie and will be relying on your help to make this one work for us :)

Here’s a question – I have added a page, but it does not appear as a tab…is it supposed to? Will it only appear if I create a link to it from a main page? I went to edit the ‘home’ page but did not seem to have the option to keep the welcome content there, which describes a bit about how a wiki works. I’d like to keep that there for any other wikinewbies who may need it. I did manage to create a link from the menu side bar, though…woohoo!

So, to see the new page (and discussion) I started, click on the sidebar link called ‘Discovery’ when you get there.

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marvels, each and every one.

Image: from Firehouse 3rd grade 57-58 Mrs Barrett by Clarkstown67 available on flickr through a creative commons license.
I came across this quote today on Angela Maiers’ blog:

“When will we teach our children in school what they are? We should say to each of them: Do you know what you are? You are a marvel. You are
unique. In all of the world there is no other child exactly like you.
In the millions of years that have passed there has never been another
child like you. You may become a Shakespeare, a Michelangelo, a
Beethoven. You have the capacity for anything. Yes, you are a marvel.”

~ Cellist Pablo Casal~

It rips my heart out each time I hear a teacher refer to a student as a monster, as unteachable, as not wanting to learn.

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remaining curious

Image: Ghetto Curious George by the Frankfurt School made available on flickr by a creative commons license.

(crossposted at leadertalk)

About a week and a half ago, the night before beginning at a new school, I wrote a post called Allowing Curriculum Planning to Remain Curious. I
wrote about how I needed to remain curious about my students and their
contexts in order to create meaningful curriculum for them.

I am struck with how important it is to remain curious. One of the
reasons I reminded myself to remain curious, to not fall back on old
assumptions about learning, is because I am in a new school. With a new
school comes a whole new culture and different sets of needs and
expectations. Christian Long helped me towards this reminder when he wrote, in his note to self on the eve of his own first day at a new school, “You have plenty of time to share new ideas,
but listening, watching, and respecting is the first rule of business.
Listening and watching is your best trait going forward in this first

My mind keeps returning to that notion of remaining curious. How easy
it is to be curious now that I am in a new school, but I am already
noticing that I have created opinions about my students and the school
that I take for granted after only one week! So, how much easier it is
to create assumptions and rely on them rather than question and try to

I’m coming to the realization that remaining curious about what I do
as a teacher, a program planner, a member of a school community is
precious. By keeping myself open to possibilities, by trying to
understand the hows and whys of things, I keep education alive for me
and it remains my passion.

So my task going forward is remembering to remain curious.

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