Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Think That We Can Still Teach the Same Way?

It's here! It's now!
We do not have to throw out the baby with the bathwater, but we do have to incorporate new teaching tools into our everyday instruction. I took these two pictures this summer. One was at a restaurant in Southern Massachusetts. Not only was this child engaged and quiet while his parents enjoyed their meal, but so were his two siblings. I have to admit I have mixed feelings about this, but I am hoping that the parents only occasionally use this method of keeping kids "happy" while they eat in peace. You might equate this to sitting kids in front of the t.v. set and ignoring them. Does it make it better if the parents have the kids engaged in positive learning activities???????? I know I used that excuse for my kids watching Sesame Street.Many folks worry how being so engaged in these technologies takes away from interacting with family and friends. However, few object when a youngster  spends a number of hours reading.

The other picture was taken at a wedding reception held at a home in CT. I am sure that after a number of hours, keeping this young man entertained while his parents continued to enjoy the party and socialize might have been tough. He doesn't look bored,however, does he? And he's learning!

Getting back to my title. I believe the pictures above emphasize that we are working with kids who are learning 24/7 but who still need guidance in how to use these tools in a responsible manner. Our students need to be prepared for the 21st century workplace. Chief among these skills is learning "how to learn."

 I belong to a group called "Art Snacks" hosted by a fantastic educator by the name of Kevin Hunnicut. He invites folks to his site to add art work, photographs, instructional videos, etc - all with the intent of having folks learn from each other. Recently, he revised a song called "I Need My Teachers To Learn." While some may take issue with criticism of current teaching methods embedded therein, it's still important to watch and reflect on this video.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

A Great Find!

I have lot of things to do on this lovely Saturday morning, but I made the mistake of sitting down at my laptop.
I read an email from Greg Limperis of Technology Integration in Education asking me to support Glogster on the DEN March Madness Mashup, where educators from all over are voting for their favorite Web 2.0 applications. In the video presenting Glogster, I followed a link to the Digital Toolbelt Wiki.
and in that wiki on their resources page, I found this Google Presentation started by Mark Clarkson on "25 Techy Tips for not so Techy Teachers" and even for those who are. The links to the applications are embedded in the presentation and clickable. I copied the embed code from the presentation and hope to share it with you here. There are really terrific resources here. I intend to play with blockposters.com soon.

Now I am going to go do something else - really - at least until noon when I intend to join the Classroom 2.0 webinar. This week the hosts are interviewing Colt Briner and Caitlin Tucker of Collaborize Classroom. I contacted Peggy George, one of the moderators a couple of weeks ago and told her I'd seen a SimpleK12 presentation with these folks and suggested she might want to get them for a webinar on her show. Lo and Behold - she did. Now she probably already had them in her radar, but it excited me to think that I might have had some small influence in this show being scheduled so soon.

Friday, April 1, 2011

An April's Fool Joke that I Can Endorse!

Today is April Fool's Day. Thankfully, we got through the day without any destructive pranks being pulled. I have never really liked April Fool's Day, for I am not in favor of anything that hurts someone else's esteem. Thankfully, for the most part, April Fool's jokes are pretty harmless.
Today, however, I must admit I was fooled - royally!
One of the students brought in a beautifully frosted cake for our secretary, whose name just happens to be April. Later in the morning, I stopped by the office and commented on what a beautiful cake she had on her desk. I wondered if it was her birthday. She even invited me to have a piece, and I said, "Oh, no. I'm trying to be good -but maybe a scrid later." When she burst out laughing, I knew something was up. I'd been fooled, and so had she. When the student first presented her with the cake, she had been so pleased, and she'd thanked him profusely. He had even brought in plates and forks. However, when she went to cut into  it, she got the surprise! It was a beautifully frosted roll of toilet paper! It was really a clever and harmless way to acknowledge April Fool's Day! Enjoy! (the creative prank, if not the cake).