Off to a good start

map.gif  Today was great.  My day started out with my computer “ringing” me because I was being invited to join a Skypecast workshop that Clay Burrell was conducting from Seoul.

Pretty neat way to be woken up!  (I must be turning into a total geek 😉 )

Then at school today, I assisted our principal in setting up equipment for a presentation she did with our new teachers, which was forward thinking and enthusiastic.  I was thrilled to realize she was using Karl Fisch’s video “Did You Know?” and Darren Draper’s video “Pay Attention” to share her vision of authentic learning with the new staff.  

Just as thrilling was seeing our new Chinese teacher nodding in affirmation about creativity in American schools, and then hearing our principal talk about our superintendent’s support of innovative uses of technology in the classroom(including cell phones!)  

And even more thrilling was the fact that I could say that I had met the creators of both videos at NECC.  It just really brought home to me to power of having a network that I learn from, and how great it is getting to meet people in that network “face to face”.

Later in the afternoon, I got to help our principal try out one of the new iPod nanos we had ordered, and we got to talk about the merits of using iTunes in the classroom and iTunes U, and we talked about how to use the iTalk device we bought to record podcasts straight into the ipod.    My guess is she’ll have a video iPod before long.

Then I came home and browsing through my bloglines, I ran across Jeff Utecht’s post about not putting students in a bubble by denying them access during the day to tools they use at home.  He writes:

“Do we get it? Does education understand that they are learning without us, that this new world in which our students live is teaching them more than what we can inside the bubble? Inside a textbook that does not hyperlink, does not move, and does not engage. . . .

Truthfully, I don’t think we give our students enough credit. We feel as though we can’t trust them with this free information. We’re afraid of what they might do, watch, or see that they couldn’t do at other times outside of school. Teachers have made the argument, “Well, they do what they want at home as long as they don’t do it as school.” And that’s exactly what’s we’re headed for….students who stay home and learn rather than climb inside the bubble and wait for 8 hours to get out.”

I sit here this evening recalling hearing our principal tell the new teachers that we are a school that expects teachers to use more resources than just a printed textbook.

Today felt like a day where I was working in a place where people are getting it, where the opportunities are available, where innovation is supported and can happen.  It was a great day.  And if it feels great to me to be starting school, and not moaning about the end of summer–I wonder how it will feel to our students, and if we can continue to make a school that is an engaging and exciting place to be.

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"Pay Attention"

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3 thoughts on “Off to a good start

  1. Carolyn,

    What a great day and a great start to what sounds like it is shaping up to a great year. I have just finished my workshop for my administrators and they are so jazzed up and we spent the day talking about our work with the faculty when they return the week of August 27th. I am really excited about the possibilities myself.

  2. What a wonderfully enthusiastic post.

    I was just thinking the same thing at school today as I was thinking about ways to try to impart to students (at a minimum) why I blog. I’m going to blog about it ;-), but it’s this:

    I blog to share:
    1. what I learn
    2. what I find
    3. what I think
    4. who I am

    And the fact that I blog, voluntarily, without pay, maniacally, about MY WORK made me feel like one of the luckiest people in the world.

    Sorry and not sorry that I woke you up! Hilariously fun moment, I’m LOLing as I type. You know Skype suffered a major outage 5 minutes before the “show” started, and completely destroyed the Google Earth Tour! But “learning is messy,” and it was an opportunity to a) learn to have a Plan B and b) laugh.

    I’m going to pick your brain about iPods and iTalk for podcasting soon….

    Keep that mood as long as possible 🙂

  3. Carolyn,
    How great to read about your new teacher work at the high school and how Linda continues to prioritizing 21st Century tools and learning practices. I wanted to let you know that our elementary teachers got a parallell message. We used the Did You Know Video (But I think it was the Shift Happens version), we also referenced Tom Freedman and Daniel Pink. The new teachers looked over the Partnership for 21 Century Learning site as well as the WHS blog directory. They were encouraged to go back and open Linda’s Producer presentation, and look over the Vision Committee blog, and the others.
    We looked at wikis, blogs, google maps, google earth, and all of the productivity tools and curriculum resources that the district has invested in.
    It was a 3 hour session with a wiki that they saved into their home folder for future reference.
    We were afraid it was going to be too much information..but all of the new elementary teachers, mostly all millenials (some of whom I actually taught when they were in elementary school!) had no trouble keeping up and contributing.
    Yes, I am also starting the year with a feeling of excitement and anticipation.

    I think we will hear Rigor, Relevance, and Relationships more than once this year….

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