Thursday, July 14, 2011

Day #4 Reflection

Almost forgot to blog...I've been working on my google site all evening.  It seems to take some time to get the hang of this tool, but at least I've got it up and running.  Just makes me realize the great divide between our students and ourselves (at least, the less tech-saavy adults).  Kids intuitively go barreling through new technology without the fear of messing up.  I, on the other hand, worry that each click may damage something or send it off into oblivion.  I'm sure they would have accomplished in half the time what took me all week to put together. It is important that I don't hold students back because of my trepidation. More and more I realize that students need the freedom to plow their way through challenging tasks while the adults take a backseat. It is my role to find those challenging, yet relevant tasks and set up those opportunities for students to explore and examine and take risks and collaborate in order to solve the task. Isn't that the kind of learning they need to prepare for the future?

This week has been a great opportunity for me.  Having the freedom to explore and ponder and challenge my own thinking has been very satisfying. We just need to create those same conditions for the students we serve...Perhaps I will apply for that Granny in the Cloud position!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Day #3 Response

Response to Hole in the Wall video:

I watched the first video last night, which allowed me to view the second one today in class.  What an amazing experiment and what powerful findings…

It is rather humbling for teachers to realize that kids will learn with or without us, if they are motivated.  What does this mean for the future of education?  There was a quote in the 2nd video “If children have interest then education happens.” That really drives home this idea that teachers need to set up the right conditions for learning and then step back. Our role needs to be transformed; moving from the content giver to the question poser. I love the idea of the Method of the Grandmother, but believe teachers are still needed to help establish that initial interest.  Problem-based/project-based learning opportunities seem to take on a more importance.  I believe with the addition of Essential Skills we are getting closer to what we should teach (skills) vs. what we have always taught (Chunks of content…a.k.a. content standards).

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Day #2 Reflection

Whew! Quite a whirlwind many cool tools out there and so little time to really explore and become adept at utilizing the vast array of resources. G was very engaging and his passion is obvious.  Beaverton is very fortunate to have him.  I only wish we had someone like that to help bridge that gap between IT and Curriculum.  Focusing on the final project today which is to design and build a google site to serve as a collaborative repository for data teams.  Unfortunately, I continue to run into roadblocks. Our ESD is primarily a PC -based district and I am running into a number of limitations  developing and using google sites.  To quote Tim, it's rather "clunky".  Unfortunately, I can't use some of the more user-friendly mac tools nor will wikispaces or weebly work because I want the site to be collaborative  (meaning I want the teachers to be able to contribute and edit the content.)  I am trying to figure out how to make a site that will be useful for teachers and will encourage ongoing discussion and collaborative planning, but I have a lot of work to do yet.  I do prefer it to using Moodle, but am still not satisfied.  I have to become more knowledgeable about using a Mac.  Seems a much more accommodating platform. I have a lot of research to do about google sites...

On another note, although I have seen a couple of the videos from today's session before, it was a good reminder of the speed of technological advances and the ever-changing needs of our students. I have shown two of these videos to staff before and although the videos are somewhat outdated, they serve as a great jumping off point for teacher discussions of what we must to respond to these changes... 

Monday, July 11, 2011

Day #1 Reflection was a day to whet our appetites.  The videos and the readings brought to light some of the critical issues we can no longer ignore in k-12 education. Something that especially resonated with me was a comment in the article that talked about the money spent on curriculum (textbooks and other consumables) and how it might be better spent on technology.  Given the budgetary woes facing schools across our state, the decision of how we spend each and every dollar needs to be scrutinized.  With the roll out of the CCSS, schools will be looking to adopt new curriculum for Language Arts, Math and Science as well as other content areas due for review.  With less dollars, fewer teachers, and changing standards, we are going to have to rethink how we make curricular decisions.  Does it make sense to adopt textbooks that will be outdated and only "loosely" aligned with Common Core withing a year or two? Does it make more sense to use what few dollars we have to build more capacity and versatility in our technology options for students?  Would it be wiser to use our limited resources to train teachers on how to actually use and integrate technology? Whatever the answers, one thing is for sure...we cannot keep teaching the way we have always taught.  We cannot run schools the way we have for the past 25 years if we truly are committed to preparing students for the world they will live in....

Looking forward to more thought-provoking discussions...

Response #1-Sir Ken Robinsen Video

"Tyranny of Common Sense" true!  Our educational system is so controlled by our past and what has always been that we are losing our students at an alarming rate... The world of technology frightens many us not because we can't learn new ways, rather we fear that new paths may lead us into uncharted territories for which we are not prepared.  We may not know all the answers and that frightens us.

But isn't that what we, as educators, should be all about? Helping students navigate new waters as they search out their new learning ...We don't have to have all the answers.  We just need to help man the boat and create opportunities for  students to take risks and move beyond what has always been to what may yet to be.... How liberating that is for teachers as well as students!

Great video!