Wishing everyone ein gutes neues Jahr! I am happily having coffee, oreos minus the trans fats (some offbrand and very good) and watching Times Square live at http://newyears.earthcam.com/ts/
Who says I need a tv?
Technorati Tags: timessquare newyearseve earthcam fireworks
Monday, December 31, 2007
Posted by Lisa Durff at 10:28 PM
Sunday, December 30, 2007
The past year has been amazing! Foremost, I am here and if you could review the reasons I say that you would be as incredulous as I. Secondly, I have learned an incredible amount! Thirdly, I have shared an incredible amount of what I have learned. This seventh year of the twentyfirst century has been quite a year!
The first reason for an amazing year is simply for me that I am here. The short story is that I have a congenital brain disorder. The malformation in my brain bled in 2004. I just had an angiogram to see whether the main feeding artery is gone. Results have not yet been determined.
My learning, the second main development this year, is influenced by what I read in my aggregator, hear in podcast subscriptions, and discover from my learning network. I have learned how to webcast (thank you Webcastacademy),how to use an aggregator to manage RSS subscriptions, how to make a video, & how to use Twitter to access and grow my personal learning network.
In 2008, I look forward to working on courses for certification, attending conferences both virtually and f2f, & learning more about video editing. I haven't blogged while enjoying this holiday and hope to get back into it this week....
Technorati Tags: year_reflection learnings networks webcastacademy
Photo by Countdown Entertainment LLC
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:09 PM
Sunday, December 23, 2007
Hanspeter Pfister, Harvard Professor, recently spoke about effective visualisations. This is a right-brained intelligence, to use popular terms, that represents information in ways that left-brained linguistic academicians don't comprehend quickly. Visualisations are at their core patterns.
Patterns are everywhere. Programming requires our brains to see patterns. Musical ability requires hearing patterns. Design used in many fields involves recognising, using, & creating patterns. Shareski recently created a wellknown keynote address involving principles of design. Computer programming requires manipulation of patterns.
Being a learner in k12, I see a need for me to devote more time to choosing & using effective images with fellow learners. Learners will use this skill in business applications, in creations of their own, & in programming computers I can't even imagine.
Technorati Tags: images visualisations patterns Shareski Pfister
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:10 PM
Friday, December 21, 2007
Twitter is a social networking tool. Lately, I have run across several disturbing discussions regarding Twitter. It seems people insist that they need to 'keep up' with those they follow. They feel the need not to miss a single tweet.
When there is a crowd in a room, are you able to follow what each person says? No, of course not. Then why do we feel a need to follow written text (in 140 characters or less) better than we do the spoken word?
I feel no such responsibility. I probably miss many great things, but I am not Inspector Gadget. When I am able to return to Twitter, I read the page top to bottom and that is it. I cannot contribute to oral conversations without missing something. I do not expect myself to contribute to written conversations without missing something.
When I do miss something (which is probably more than I realise), I can always ask followers on Twitter and within a few moments they will post the answer for me. An example is twittering from a cell phone. I know that has appeared on Twitter beforehand and I forgot how. Someone posted it again when I forgot. I'm sure if I went and asked again, that question would be answered again.
My personal learning network is epitomized by Twitter, a 24/7 online, global network of fellow learners.
Why aren't we talking about learning networks in our classrooms? Why aren't we asking fellow learners to not only be more aware of these networks but to develop their learning networks?
Technorati Tags: Twitter learningnetworks socialnetworking
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:26 PM
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
It bothers me that there is a dividing wall between those people whom society considers teachers and those people whom society considers students. I have never sensed this division, maybe because I attended a Quaker high school, where such divisions did not exist even in our speech. Before high school, I was probably too young to care, it has been a very long time.
I do remember high school, as I imagine all high school learners do. What will those learners remember and learn from you? I treat all learners the same, whether they are 92 or 14. I interact with an intellect, I guide a brain, I use the tools I have been given to me to help them think. I put up no artificial boundary wall between learners. Such a wall does not exist in the 'real' world, why should it exist anywhere else? I am conversing with learners via Meebo or Skype outside the prescribed walls, prescribed bells, prescribed schedules. I see nothing wrong with this and obviously neither do those learners or their parents.
We need to destroy these vestiges of industrial age education and move on. Twenty-first learning is 24/7, it is via Meebo IMs, it is via Skype. Lifelong learning does not happen in a box, neat rows, according to a bell schedule, cafeteria-style menu, or only within four walls.
Either we embrace 21st century learning fully or we don't. There is no middle of the road. The new paradigm insists we are all learners here. Are you?
Technorati Tags: industrialage 21stcenturyschools education
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:47 AM
Monday, December 17, 2007
It is necessary to teach learners how to have digital communications. It is not innate, it is a learned skill. Learners need to be safe, be courteous, & be understood. These lessons are best scaffolded beginning in the intermediate grades. Digital Communications is a 21st century skill that empowers learners, making them better learners, better thinkers, & better producers.
Seventh grade learners in my class today played a game about instant messaging safety, took a quiz, then IM'd me the results. These learners flew through the expectations today, quickly getting to the games/Meebo section of the class. These learners, how will I keep up with them?
After students IM'd me their scores, I included them in a Meebo room for our class. Since I was busy responding and recording as well, they quickly lost interest and went their own ways. We did succeed in creating several aliases and Meebo accounts today and learned about IM safety. I'm still trying to coax a famous blogger to show up digitally on Wednesday to teach us about the necessity of creating and using a pseudonymn online. Any takers?
Technorati Tags: pseudo alias IM onlinesafety Meebo
Posted by Lisa Durff at 7:25 PM
Not the Nestea Plunge, but the kiva plunge. I have joined those involved in the world of microfinance. I could loan as little as $25 to someone I choose after reading their profile. I then click through to the checkout, just like online shopping. Kiva asks me for either a credit card or paypal. It's so easy.
So this holiday, get into the mood by loaning out of your abundance to someone who does not have enough. It won't hurt and may be infectious!
There are teachers already using kiva in their classrooms. I am thinking of doing this too after our break. The possibilities are exciting!
Technorati Tags: kiva microfinance loans thirdworld economy
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:07 AM
Thursday, December 13, 2007
Seventeenth-century English author John Donne is often quoted: No man is an island, entire of itself...any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind...
Several seemingly unrelated events occurred today: our school had a praise n' worship concert led by Wings of the Morning and David Edwards.
A multitude of students signaled their surrendering of their lives' to our Lord.
Then I had the great pleasure of participating in a DEN webinar where I heard Dan Pink. Many of us had heard this presentation before, but he always seems to bring in something new to ponder, or maybe I just listen better on repeated hearings (what a good reason for us to podcast and ask learners to listen repeatedly to crucial classes!)
He spoke of our need to invest more in the arts, not less. We so need to integrate the arts into all we do. Today in fact, I pulled into a 3rd grade lesson on the computer ideas relevant to Advent. We read a Bible verse (older learners are led to biblegateway for all the translations - a great site for our Bible courses), we listened to a audio clip from the Messiah, we played concentration on an electronic Advent calendar. I was integrating the arts without really thinking about it. As I write this I am listening to the Messiah. We must give this gift to all our learners, as our parents gave it to us.
He did say autonomy is so important, a theme you have read here recently. That early gift came back today. I have Open Lab time after school and he had detention. He worked on his movie nonstop, delving into transitions. He saw immediately that he needed to align the transitions with the musical beats without my suggestion. There are some things he will still have to learn that will not be so interesting and that worries me.
Dan Pink advocates focusing on intrinsic motivation. In the Poptech talk I seem to remember he advocated empathy as well. Two skills that I believe we can strengthen and must not ignore just because they are difficult. I'm seeing some amazing work out of learners I never could have predicted but at the same time I see an alarming lack of empathy that is not being addressed by the family unit. These points are what tie the two events together. Those who give their lives are intrinsically motivated to do so and are empathetic to others. The first was also a concert, the second emphasised the arts. Seemingly unrelated or should I say the left brain sees no connection. The right brain sees a clear connection.
Technorati Tags: danpink empathy intrinsicmotivation integration
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:44 PM
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I received an early Christmas gift this afternoon! A very disinterested young man was challenged to create a video in twelve slides using Windows Movie Maker with my required three pieces of a story, a title page, a credits page, & music.
I was not prepared for the wildfire I ignited. He was so totally enraptured that he came during a study hall to work on it. He did twenty slides (as of 3:20pm), finished the title page and credits page, and was starting to explore transitions when the bell rang. He saved to his flash drive and bounced out of class. The look of happiness was my gift!
The importance of engaging our learners has been driven home once again! When learners enter our rooms are they meeting sages on stages, educators who can do know wrong? Are they being prompted to take the lead, to raise the bar, to reach for the stars?
Technorati Tags: engaginglearners k12 christmas moviemaker videos
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:09 PM
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I just witnessed history...and herstory too. The much anticipated Students 2.0
opened their blogging doors for business at 8:00pm EST this evening. Their writing is mature, their sentence structure more complex than their age would belie.
I urge everyone to go read and maybe enter into the conversations going on over there. I counted 20 some comments and more coming in....
Technorati Tags: Students2.0 k12 education conversations
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:40 PM
I'm rereading a post by David Warlick, My Apologies, and I must admit I am somewhat confused. He speaks of educators resistant to the changing landscape of education. David speaks to many school entities (and gets to sample the local Starbucks all over the world!)
I did my teacher training in the 1980s and 1990s. The 'changes' were the foundational curriculum then. Why is it so difficult for teachers to 'change' to align with best practices? I have heard podcasts of David speak, and he is not overbearing or radical. In fact, he is a very polite Southern gentleman.
Yet he reports that overall he finds educators wary of the 'changes' he advocates. This is where I am confused, not by what he says, but by the attitudinal walls that so many of us observe.
Education has already embraced change. I was taught about MI Theory, guide-on-the-side, differentiation, content area integration, wait time (teachers still not doing it!), and a myriad of other change agents. What on earth is so difficult about integrating technology?
David says we need to reinvent education. That is true and my ideal is far more radical I fear. But for the immediate future, we only need to refine that which we have already changed.
Technorati Tags: change davidwarlick education technology elearning teachers
Posted by Lisa Durff at 9:34 AM
Friday, December 7, 2007
A recent webcast advocated for a personal disengagement of educators from the conceptual age schools. The webcast was against moving education out of industrial age, 8-3, when-the-bell-rings, boxed in four walls type of schools. They supported the separation of the schoolhouse from the revered weekend.
I often IM or otherwise chat with fellow learners at my school. Learning, hence education, is 24/7. If students need me, they know how to find me, where to find me, and how to get my attention. I do not see a problem with this at all. I have used IM to tutor students about homework problems.
Just because the dismissal bell rings on Friday does not mean that I stop being who I am. I am who I am, and that am happens to be a learner who learns along with other learners. I am happy to help others as I can. whether it be 24/7 or not. I think there is a big difference between the social networking sites they mentioned and IMing or Skype. Once other learners realise that is mrsdurff, they go invisible (yeah, I'll show 'em how if they ask) or don't IM me. That is fine. But I am accessible. That is what is important.
The prevalent attitudes of industrial age education really need to change. I am surprised that such great minds would give voice to these attitudes that are so blatantly inflexible.
Technorati Tags: IM industrialage Skype conceptualage k12
Posted by Lisa Durff at 7:18 PM
Thursday, December 6, 2007
A basic reading literacy is often assumed to be sufficient. Does that really mean a phonetic, sounding it out kind of word calling or is the comprehension of material read? If it is comprehension, then at what grade level? The majority of the American public read newspapers written at a 5th grade level. That is elementary school. Is that really enough? Why are learners stopping on that plateau? Many national reports have lamented the decline in reading following the 1940s and the rise in tv viewing since. This correlation is assumed to be causation, and it may well be.
A new literacy is now needed. In this age of the internet, digital literacy is needed. Will a rise in internet time raise reading time? I spend 80% of online time reading and writing after all. I am hardly illiterate unless you ask the learners at my school. Then you will discover how ignorant I truly am.
Will we define a proficiency level for digital literacy? What level will be considered sufficient for a successful life? Another thought that annoys me: why are these literacies thought to act independently of each other and why are they taught inside boxes? Why can't we draw the box around all the subjects, integrate all the separate subjects, and have learning studios a la Clarence Fischer?
Even more radically - why not throw out the cafeteria style high school Carnegie units altogether? Replace the outdated with learning studios where learners work under a lead learner, invoking the knowledge and expertise of other learners as needed. A learning studio would be a place where virtual conversations are prevalent, where reading, writing, arithmetical, & digital literacies soar well above the 5th grade level. These learning studios would be places that are visited almost 24/7 by experts in fields that of interest to learners.
Remember when the expert in nanotechnology visited a high school classroom in Georgia because the textbook wasn't sufficient? Imagine learning studios where this happened all the time. Imagine a place where learners gather at all hours to confer with international experts in many time zones. This is the future of schools I have imagined since my youth. I am not a patient person (many will attest to that). When will we get on with it?
Technorati Tags: literacy reading writing digital clarencefisher learningstudios
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:04 PM
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Ken Burns talks about making films for PBS so a whole generation is not ignorant of these facts
A live webcast tomorrow at 21:00GMT & more information is available at http://okwwii.wetpaint.com/page/Videoconferencing?t=anon
Technorati Tags: pearlharbor WWII memorial hawaii
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:36 PM
The k12 American education required is largely industrial-age, lecture-based, non-differentiated, & incredibly non-engaging to today's learners. Yesterday I had a young man catapult himself over three library tables not because he was bored in my class but because he was bored all morning. As an educational system, should we be issuing consequences or engaging such students?
I suggest that by incorporating multiple intelligences & bloom's taxonomy with technology and by differentiating for individual differences, educators will not only be using best practices but will engage such learners. An excellent resource for planning is a spreadsheet combining multiple intelligences with Bloom's taxonomy, like those available at this site.
Learners do need to meet us half way by following certain ground rules, like focusing on lessons, playing after work is done, not using specific sites at school, & being respectful of all learners. Schools have been successful because they agreed on and operated on certain rules. It is up to older learners to inculcate younger learners in the rules of the culture.
Utilising the best possible practices is why schools pay us educators - doing what we are paid to do. I do find it difficult to fathom when people do not immediately employ best practices in education. If it is our job to do so, failing to do so would be to penalise tomorrow's citizens. Do we want to meet our Lord with that on our plate? Are we who we want to be?
Technorati Tags: bestpractices k12 service disservice learners engagement
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:34 PM
Tuesday, December 4, 2007
On Monday December 10, 2007 at 23:00GMT It's Elementary Show #11 will webcast a live, interactive show about tagging with guest Steve Hargadon. It's Elementary is webcast at edtechtalk. To join the show log-in to the chatroom (no password required) and listen on another tab by clicking on the black icon on the listen page. Your computer will open a player and start playing the stream for you. The show will center around tagging, what it is and why one should do it. The main tagging sites are del.icio.us, Diigo, and Technorati.
Dean Shareski wrote a great post about del.icio.us entitled "Del.icio.us as the precursor to Twitter" In it he describes how he subscribes to del.icio.us feeds of people in his circle of wisdom. This is an excellent way to exploit del.icio.us and RSS for use in your personal learning network!
Technorati Tags: Its_Elementary tagging delicious diigo technorati webcast bookmarking
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:23 PM
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I had the pleasure yesterday of listening to Don Giovanni on the radio as I drove home from a friend's. The plot revolves around a cunning man who beguiles three woman. This wonderful opera by Mozart made me think. Are we, as lead learners in our classrooms, hiding behind a deception?
I propound that educators have traditionally hidden behind a guise. That disguise assumes the educator is always right, always has the one answer, & should never be questioned. I was fortunate enough to have a high school education that assumed none of these and encouraged all students to question, challenge, & find alternate paths.
The current trend in the Web2.0 world is to put this guise in question. Educators are encouraged to step off the stage and become the guide on the side. Teachers are being asked to incorporate multiple intelligences in their lesson plans and differentiate for all learners. They are asked to put on a different role in classrooms, one of facilitating, not lecturing.
Getting educators off that stage has been more difficult than anticipated for me. I was more than happy to run leaping off that fake stage. But others seem entrenched in tradition. Comfort is found in the familiar "I'm right because I am the teacher" attitude so prevalent in our society. When learners enter my classroom there is quite an adjustment for them, as I insist loudly that I am not responsible for their learning. We are all learners and each of us is responsible for becoming lifelong learners and doing our work as unto our Lord (NIV, Col. 3:23).
Learners need also to widen their horizons. They seem to have become as a generation disillusioned with K-12 schools and propel themselves through for the diploma only. I'm puzzled by this attitude, as I know other educators with whom I work are. The real issue is how to effect change. I am not 'the teacher' with any answers in my classroom. I challenge all educators to step off that stage at least once in a while. It is a liberating educational tool through which we can recognise the high ability of all learners and offer them a quality education.
Technorati Tags: K-12 sageonstage guideonside guise teacher education TECS390
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:39 AM
Friday, November 30, 2007
Dr. Kevin Star, a state Librarian Emeritus in California, expounds on NPR that for most of history humans have been illiterate & for most of our history very few people read. Literate culture is a rather new revolution in human history. Therefore he says, what do we do about the declining amount of reading?
A classic education used to nclude the canon, but it has recently gone out of favor. Standardized scores do not show lower performance or success in life but overall students are reading only one-third the books read in the 1930s. Literary reading includes this canon.
The scores show that tweens and beyond read less and less well. This affects comprehension levels so it affects what I do in the classroom every day. Reading has become a middle-class activity. Do we really want an elite class that can read making laws for the less elite class which is illiterate? Sounds very dangerous.
Dana Gioia, chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, reports that one out of three Americans drop out of high school, yet employers list reading ability as the major problem with new hires. Reading ability directly affects the ability to learn. Yet the ability to learn is a 21st century skill. It is imperative to this generation's success in life that an ability to learn be inculcated. Alvin Toffler is often quoted as saying, "The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read or write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”
The mere presence of books directly affects success in school. The new report reviewed in this NPR podcast reports reading on the internet is not equivalent. I must take exception and say it can be. It has to do with flow. If one enters and sustains flow while reading a book or while reading internet information is the same. If only scanning bullet points or reading short IMs, then they have a valid point. But reading of articles on reflective blogs or journals is what one does when reading a print book. Where it is published is not the point.
The point is the kinds of reading material has shifted in American society. Has this same shift happened in other cultures and are these other cultures affected by a shift to a less literate, employable, or successful people?
Technorati Tags: reading nea npr
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:37 PM
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
Speaking at MIT, Thomas Malone recently defined collective intelligence as a group of literate people acting together. A rather unsatisfying definition, but he assures the audience they know it when they see it.
Sandy Pentland asserts groups make us smarter. Looking at patterns of communication helps us decipher if these patterns are intelligent or swayed by bias. Thomas Malone calls this an organizational microscope.
Karim Lakhani says people can self-organise and solve tough problems. This community dynamic so intrigued him that he changed his focus to it.
Self - participation of the community members puzzled him since it was done using opensource software for no pay. Why it is puzzling that anyone is intrinsically motivated rather than extrinsically is to me puzzling. The notions of how companies have traditionally worked is thus changing.
Applying these thoughts to education can propel learners into the conversations where learning through reflection and consensus happen. Education is not filling learners up with knowledge or a proficient demonstration on a multiple choice test. A valuable education insists the learner critically thinks with the materials at hand, communicating effectively with the group, connecting through commonalities, through and across groups, and collaborating with groups to form a deeper knowledge than would be possible without the group. These men would have referred to the deeper knowledge as collective intelligence.
Technorati Tags: collectiveintelligence MIT organizationaldynamics
Posted by Lisa Durff at 7:29 PM
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
While the main aim for lifelong learners appears to be entering the conversation, it seems that digital natives or not, these learners lack a lot of basic skills. I find myself focusing on really basic things, like how to open a browser, how to use tabs instead of windows, keyboarding (which I am terrible at myself), remembering ones own usernames and passwords.
I'm doubting whether the duality of digital natives versus digital immigrants is even fitting. I myself am best described as an illegal alien in the digital world. Many of the teens with whom I speak are unfamiliar with the deep web, Skype, RSS, things that I consider mainstays. Are we doing this generation a disservice by assigning a label too soon?
If the learners in our rooms are expected to know more than they do and to learn digital survival skills more quickly, then yes, we are doing them a disservice. Fact remains, to be a successful citizen this generation will need to be comfortable using digital basic skills. Skills that I rarely see in the PreK through 12th grade learners in our school. Now, I'm not saying these learners are not smart - in fact they are brilliant! But they just don't possess those basic skills yet - maybe that is why our society has school in the first place.
So my main dilemma remains, how do I both equip these learners with the digital skills they need and engage them in conversations with other learners? Are the NETS standards enough?
Technorati Tags: digitalnatives digitalimmigrants MarcPrensky NETS
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:44 PM
Monday, November 26, 2007
Today I attended a homegoing celebration for Carrie. If there is one thing we will all remember about Carrie, it was she could make a joyful noise. I mean a LOUD noise. She made that LOUD noise everywhere!
She gave her entire being to service. The Carrie I knew was always thinking about the students. She wanted to learn all the skills I could teach her for the students. She knew she had a short time but it didn't stop her learning. That is an attitude after which I grasp.
So now Carrie is busy serving Him decorating (she was the Art teacher), & making a LOUD noise while doing it!
Technorati Tags: homegoing joyfulnoise lifelonglearning
Posted by Lisa Durff at 3:40 PM
Saturday, November 24, 2007
just because you asked..this is what I did...I was unable to record in anyway, though I would have preferred to record the session via Ustream...
As participants entered, they heard music and saw my Frappr on the front screen - thank you to everyone who placed your mugs on my Frappr - you are a visual representation of my learning network. My entire presentation is done from this wiki
I started with a brother leading prayer, then introduced myself and gave a short testimony. For me that is a defining moment in my life, when my existence on this planet hung in the balance and my friends were told literally to say goodbye. Lucky for you (now don't feel lucky?) I'm still here to annoy all of you!
Then I showed Darren's Paying Attention video - again all these resources are on the wiki.
I talked about how integration augments skills needed for success in reading, writing, math, & science. I discussed why we should bother to integrate. I said we are no longer sages on stages and moved off the stage. We all did a Think-Pair-Share a la Durff.
I talked about Multiple Intelligences as a vehicle for technology integration. I provided several examples, available on the wiki, and moved off that stage again. We all formed groups of 4 to 6 and integrated technology into unit plans using Bloom's Taxonomy and Multiple Intelligences.
I finished with Vicki Davis' Fear Factor video. I asked participants to create a podcast for me to share on the wiki, providing full instructions in the slide show. I have included two of those. I have also uploaded all the unit plans. While groups were working, I moved from group to group and gave them a green square if they were on task. Off-task groups got a red square. I was modeling what I do with K12 learners.
Well there you have it Miguel. What would I do differently? I would insist presenters and participants all have wireless access (gotta have that backchannel going). I would record via Ustream.
Did it go as well as I wanted? No. Could it have been better? Yes. That's the crux of it. Did I successfully ignite a conversation with participants? While they were in the room, yes. But when they left, that was it. Learning does not stop at the door of the classroom or the school, why do adults think it must stop at the door of the presentation? Are we all so inculcated into the industrial model that we can't break free? Where do we go from here?
Technorati Tags: acsieducatorconvention2007 technologyintegration miguelguhlin
Posted by Lisa Durff at 4:57 PM
I just had a conversation with three other educators about the future of schools. It occurs to me that we just demonstrated what learning could be in schools. An interested group got together via Skype (we were not even in the same city) and talked about something of importance to us. We certainly were able to develop our thoughts, cement our convictions, share the possibilities through a Web2.0 technology. I learned much by listening to the others and they certainly learned how radical I am.
Extend this scenario to schools. Vicki Davis already has. An interested group gathers online, led by a facilitator (our facilitator was Kevin of Driving Questions - thank you!), and discusses a topic that is interesting to them. Now I am writing about it and somehow I think they are too. This is thinking. This is a skill we want to foster in all learners.
I have felt rather dry lately. Thank you to those in the conversation for spurring me back to thinking. For anyone who cares to know, Carrie's viewing is tomorrow and funeral is on Monday. Please continue in prayer for her family and friends.
Posted by Lisa Durff at 4:18 PM
Monday, November 19, 2007
Today after lunch in the midst of afternoon workshops I was informed that Carrie went home to be with our Lord. She taught art at my school. She had registered to be here, sharing a room with me. Dianna told me and held me while I cried.
We all gathered this evening for prayer and decided to remain, as she would have wanted that. She was all about doing your work as unto the Lord. She herself worked this month, all the while dieing of cancer.
I will dedicate my work to her tomorrow, knowing I will cry. I do miss her.
There will be no recording, podcast, or Ustream here. ACSI is recording all sessions and selling CDs. Maybe it's best people will not see my tears or hear the cracks in my voice. The convention participants do not have wireless. This is a lesson in how not to run a conference.
I was going to write something coherent, but Carrie's sooner than expected return home interrupted all that. It is what I had prayed He would do for her, knowing she was in discomfort and had lived to see her grandson born.
Please join me in saying a prayer for her family as they deal with this at Thanksgiving time. My tag generator is at the blogmeister home, which will be offline for a while receiving a respite from its creator.
Posted by Lisa Durff at 10:31 PM
As many of you know, I am in Washington, DC at the ACSI Convention. I will be presenting tomorrow from this wiki Please feel free to offer me help! I am not positive anything will go my way, so if I at least have a laptop and projector I can present off my flash drive. If both computers can get to the internet, then there hopefully I can try Ustream on one and present with the other.
We will see. My priority is the participants in the room. I am not as proficient as the rest of the edublogsphere...
I was delighted to find this pearl in the RSS this morning and added it to my wiki! Check out Clay Burells's wiki on Digital Arts for Multiple Intelligences
If you see any broken links on my wiki, please hollar & scream at me so I fix it fast! Thank you, network!!
Technorati Tags: digital multipleintelligences clayburell acsi
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:46 AM
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Digital Conversations involve persistence, positive responses, give and take, as well as a sense of curiosity. The art of conversation is not innate but needs to be facilitated. I need to think of this skill and facilitate more digital conversations in the computer courses which I teach.
The elements of a good conversation are similar to a good story, having a beginning, a middle and an end. In a conversation there is a greeting and initial topic or conversation starter, the meat of the conversation, and a summation and closing. Reminding our learners of these required elements is challenging, especially as we near the holidays. Conversations include dialogue, not monologue, between learners, not learners and one teacher. Many learners whom I teach are still grappling with this. Most of their teachers, they report, are seeking teacher to learner interactions. When they step into my classroom they must deal with differing expectations.
I insist I am not a teacher, I am a learner. I don't cater to helpless handraising. I don't direct all learners to do A), B), & C). The answers to my questions are not 'right there' but 'on your own' (referring to QARs). I faciliate learner interactions with other learners, sometimes those who are literally on the other side of the globe. I emphasize communication, connections, and collaborations. I need to put digital conversations into the plan as well.
Technorati Tags: conversations digitalconversations jefflebow NEIT2007
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Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:28 PM
Monday, November 12, 2007
Full transparency Folks! To all of those laudatory people here is a dose of reality - welcome to my world!
First, someone called me to test audio on skype and they couldn't hear me. Seems I forgot to unmute the computer's sound. I did this not once, but twice in the same day. Sixth grade was rolling...
Then someone called me to test my skype video. It was blurry. I thought it was dropped. Evidently (it is appropriate to start roaring with laughter at this point, I did), the webcam has a focus that is the white dial on the front. Who knew? John Maklary knew - thank you! He set me straight and I am so relieved. So to all those people who think I'm anything....sorry 'bout your luck! I obviously know less than the average bear - and I am still integrating Web2.0 technology. What's your excuse?
Technorati Tags: k12 webcam Skype videoconference
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:11 PM
Saturday, November 10, 2007
After listening to this Radio Lab podcast, I am very intrigued by the description of sound as touch at a distance. Howard Gardner has described intelligence as multiple intelligences. One of those intelligences is musical intelligence.
Isn't it interesting that music is made up of sounds which are just touch at a distance. Could all the intelligences defined by Gardner really be an aspect of touch? Could touch be the real seat of intelligence?
Linguistic intelligence and logical-mathematical intelligence are generally considered not only those taught in schools but also those that occur within our minds. But even minds are resident within brains. Brains are gray matter connected by chemical processes. Even the rare brain disease I have is nothing more than a malformation that occurred because of chemicals. A touch that went wrong....
If this line of reasoning holds any water, we might be augmenting multiple intelligences by showing learners how to touch more effectively. There are currently nine intelligences. Nine ways of knowing.....through touch?
Technorati Tags: sound soundwaves touch MI multipleintelligences
Posted by Lisa Durff at 7:55 PM
Teachers have used prior knowledge to connect learners with things they already know with things learners need to learn. The world around us is made up of patterns which we recognise and use to hook into new concepts. James Paul Gee says:
Our experiences in the world build patterns in our mind, and then the mind shapes our experience of the world (and the actions we take in it), which in turn, reshapes our mind.
It is these patterns upon which I am to build in my classrooms. I do this via prior knowledge, setting up experiences which are familiar to learners and leading into ones that are not familiar.
One successful excursion into patterns has been into cartoon creation in 6th grade. These boys love cartoons (the familiar) and making their own. They did so on ToonDoo
and then learned how to embed the html code into their blogs (the unfamiliar). They practised creating content (Bloom's taxonomy), 21st century skills, and (gasp!) it was fun!
In 4th grade we estimated pumpkin seeds and then counted them (a Technospud Project). Next week, we will blog about the experiences we had with the Pumpkin as well as the praying mantis babies (they were everywhere!). Again the familiar experience into the unfamiliar.
I don't include these examples for laud, but to demonstrate how easy Web2.0 tools make pattern extending. Growing patterns in our minds is the basis of education.
Love to here more great examples from readers!
Technorati Tags: JamesPaulGee Patterns priorknowledge
Posted by Lisa Durff at 9:59 AM
Friday, November 9, 2007
Every learner has the ability to write. Writing skills can be improved and all learners can improve writing skills. In order to write well one must be able to think and every learner has the ability to augment their thinking. Metacognition is an important skill, one into which we delve.
Michael Covington says: "Good writing is partly a matter of character."
It is this character that I seek to boost in middle school students. We spend a good deal of time on this character development via writing and revisit it often.
Learners were asked during the last class to write a quality blog post about how they are doing eight steps which build character. They are always asked to include tags and a hyperlink. I then twitted for comments from my network. My purpose is to engage these learners in conversation. Conversations about their writing, their skills and their content. This is the beauty of Web2.0 - we create content on the web and we review content on the web.
We are in process. We will think and write better by Spring. We will build strong characters by the end of this course. Doesn't look like it now, but it will happen. Does every year.
Technorati Tags: writing learning thinking character integrity
Covington, Michael A. (2002). How to write more clearly. Retrieved November 9, 2007, from Artificial Intelligence Center Web site at The University of Georgia: http://www.ai.uga.edu/mc/WriteThinkLearn_files/frame.htm
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:54 AM
Thursday, November 8, 2007
More and more it appears that along with technical skill, learners will require a well-developed sense of ethics. Not only will learners rely upon the skills of communication, connection, and collaboration in the 21st century but their success will depend upon their ethical ability.
Those with a poor sense of ethics will center on success strategies of the 19th and 20th centuries. While these strategies were successful to people in those centuries, they are no longer useful to those in schools now.
So a dilemma is before me. How do I strengthen learners' ethical skills in the best way possible? I had learners responding to a post about ethics, after watching a video and reading short points from Straford Sherman (thank you coolcatteacher). Those who did the work worked quietly for 20 minutes, unheard of in middle school! That is certainly not enough.
I seek more suggestions about how to strengthen this most critical skill, especially in those that I am not reaching. Thank you to the three people who commented (you know who you are!)
Technorati Tags: ethics 21stcenturyskills character
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:04 AM
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
According to Jeffrey Trzeciak, quoted in this post, the university library has not expired, it has evolved. The k12 school library must meet the challenge as well.
Learners at our school often want a place to use their laptops to do research, check email, & scan rss aggregators. The focus in the middle school and high school is no longer on books, but on wireless access. Our school desperately needs space, comfortable seating, research information for these students as well as the more familiar books for PreK through 5th grade. I hope that we will find space for these things.
Libraries are still central to learning. Relationships are extended as learners gather in collaborations, connecting with their on-campus networks, and researching topics with support of librarians if needed. Library designs and functions continue to evolve.
Technorati Tags: library k12 networks librarian
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:55 PM
A Learning Community is composed of one's network. In my online network are Twitter followers and those I follow (191), several ning communities, blog members, bloggers I read and with whom I often exchange comments, Skype contacts, & webcasters at the worldbridges network. I'm sure I have unintentionally forgotten someone and I apologise.
The purpose of any community is to support its members. My learning community supports me, both online and offline. This is true for all our learners. They are supported in their endeavors by their communities, whether those communities include educational institutions, religious organizations, or online members.
Making learners aware of their learning communities is a metacognitive activity. One which I still need to review this year.
There are some great visualisation tools for seeing one's network. The people we touch are often greater in number than we realise. Our networks support us in learning, explaining, defining, and traveling through life. When danger is close our networks care. When we do well our networks applaud. When we suffer our networks cry.
Our learning communities support us in researching, expressing, creating, & knowing. That we can call upon the expertise of their collective knowledge at any moment is an important 21st century skill for all learners to practice.
What great gift we can give to all our learners! We can help them see their networks, connect with their networks, collaborate with their networks, expand their networks.
Technorati Tags: networks collectiveintelligence metacognition
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:23 AM
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
We are created for relationship. Our relationships are defined by connection, communication, and collaboration. Interesting those are the very terms I seek to facilitate for learners. We are also related by blood, but if there is no relationship there, then those people are merely acquaintance. I had several steps, I know whereof I speak....
How can we best foster connections in our classrooms? Using web2.0 tools like Skype, Ustream, audacity, audio-streaming, vidcasts, blogs, wikis, RSS makes this all super easy. I know there are programs I have not mentioned in this short list. The connection possibilities between students on opposite sides of oceans, continents, even the globe abound these days. It's rather simple really, find someone with whom to connect and connect away.
I have a class connecting with other students in a class in New Zealand. I have other students connecting with Great Britain. Yet other students are hoping to connect with a different class in New Zealand. The wrinkles are being pushed closer and closer. The physical distances are much less important than empathy, ethical actions, & tolerance for differing cultures.
Once connections are established, communication and collaboration can begin. Communication that counts, that teaches those involved, not just 'hello' and 'how are you?'. But communication at a deeper level, that is what I hope to encourage. Collaboration where all contribute meaningful work, not just go along for the ride. Wikis make this so easy, as the wiki history tells all.
I value the connections made in my life. I hope to make it easy for all learners to connect with others, even globally.
Technorati Tags: connections communication collaboration k12 wrinkles
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:25 AM
Monday, November 5, 2007
As coolcatteacher says in her post, "Motivational Monday: Dead Poet's Society Carpe Diem Scene", are you who you want to be? Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but right now, before it is too late. None of knows the time we go home, but all of us can seize the day right now.
Success in life is achieved through seizing each hour and doing whatever needs to be done in that hour. We are not successful through self-advancement but through service. Integrity is a characteristic of selflessness that I urge learners in my room to adopt. Eight steps towards integrity enumerated by Straford Sherman in 2003 include:
- doing what we say we will
- doing the right thing
- taking responsibility for our words & actions
- supporting our own weight
- considering the big picture
- respecting others
- seeing ourselves clearly
- defining rules & values against the plumbline
Many of you know I have been overwhelmed recently. I am doing a bookfair, my fulltime teaching, have a presentation looming, and have been ill. Hopefully, some of these pressures will melt away and I can give attention again to that which I love - writing! Thanks for putting up with me.
Sherman, S (2003). Rethinking Integrity. Leader to Leader. 28, 39-45.
Technorati Tags: deadpoetssociety carpediem integrity
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:10 AM
Saturday, October 27, 2007
Derek Wenmoth gave a k12Online2007 keynote entitled: Holding a Mirror to our Professional Practice
in which he challenges us to reflect not only inward (navel gazing - a great term!) but outward thinking critically how our use of technology augments the objectives.
Towards the end of this engaging keynote he asks us to consider several questions:
What are the mirrors you are holding to your practice?
Who are the mentors to whom you relate?
What professional reading do you do?
To which communities of practice do you belong?
Where do you record your ideas and reflections?
To which rss feeds do you subscribe?
When did you last visit someone else's classroom to observe?
When did you last present at a workshop and expose yourself to the scrutiny of others?
I can answer all but one, as whenever I enter a colleague's room, they stop teaching. I, however, am observed every class I teach. This is something on which I need to work..
If you have not yet enjoyed Derek's presentation, I urge you to do so now. Perhaps then drop by the When Night Falls session in Elluminate...it is happening for five more hours.
Technorati Tags: k12online07 derekwenmoth professionaldevelopment TECS390
Posted by Lisa Durff at 2:27 PM
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
I read recently that good teaching results in learning. I have to disagree. The best lessons can result in zero learning if they meet with unreceptive students. I am only one teacher that sees some students for only 40 minutes per week. If they come to the room without being ready to learn, there is little I can do to affect their attitude.
Good pedagogy must consider several measures in instruction: the intelligence quotient, the emotional quotient, the adversity quotient, and the spiritual quotient.
In schools we do a great job of considering the intelligence quotient and the emotional quotient. Expanding our vision of pedagogy will enable us to consider other crucial elements.
The adversity quotient measures the tenacity of learners in difficult situations. This principle, laid out by Paul Stoltz (1997) is described in James 1:2-4. In other words, are learners challenged to work in their zone of proximal development? Am I creating a state of disequilibrium for learners? Are members of the learning community tenacious in the face of failure? I can augment learners AQ through challenging activities that create disequilibrium and require persistance in order to learn from failure. Too many learners in K-12 come into my classroom expecting to be spoon fed correct answers, to always win, and me to be a tradional teacher. Sorry 'bout their luck. I expect all learners to fail, learn from mistakes, create their own learning, and that I will learn at the same time they do!
The life of the Spirit, or a students' spiritual quotient, must also be considered when designing effective instruction. Learners awareness of and response to the Holy Spirit as their plumb line does not stop at the church door. God espouses growth of character. Ethics seem to be lacking in so many K-12 learners. It would appear that this vital element for successful communication, collaboration, & connection would be up to those in the school (i.e. me).
Many would say this is not a concern in a US public school. I would challenge you on that! I have seen a mighty demonstration of His power through learners who had a high SQ in public school. I could only model this and not teach it directly in public school, yet He is faithful. Ask me sometime how public school learners prayed for me when I could not and how He answered those prayers!
Stoltz, Paul (1997). Adversity quotient: Turning obstacles into opportunities. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Technorati Tags: IQ EQ AQ SQ PaulStolz pedagogy K12
Posted by Lisa Durff at 5:57 AM
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
In my classrooms I have been referring to myself as a learner, on equal footing with all learners in my classrooms. Many of the learners continue to struggle with this distinction, insisting I am a teacher. I continue to insist I am not, I am not in charge of their learning. Their difficulties appear to stem from the switch they must make as they enter and leave my classroom.
Sylvia Martinez quotes Seymour Papert in her k12online2007 presentation as saying:
What we need is kinds of activity in the classroom where the teacher is learning at the same time as the kids and with the kids. Unless you do that, you'll never get out of the bind of what the teachers can do limited by what they were taught to do when they went to school.
This is the climate I have been trying to foster. Sylvia's presentation is well worth watching for this very reason, as well as her obvious professionalism. My struggles to create a SWAT team is exactly what she addresses! I'm using the acronym SWAT and her presentation uses SST. The foundation is the same. The adults learn from the students. Or restated, we are all learners.
Technorati Tags: SST SWAT GenYes SylviaMartinez professionaldevelopment
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:02 AM
Monday, October 22, 2007
1. You are to copy the rules at the start of your post.
2. You are write, in 150 words or less the story of ‘Your Inspirational Teacher’ from your school days.
3. Name and link 4 other bloggers and leave them a comment on their blog to let them know they have been tagged.
4. Tag your post ‘myinspiration’
Here: I have no inspirational teacher (I did, but I want Simon to suffer).
4 Bloggers: (top four in twitter this morning)
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:46 AM
Julie Lindsay & Vicki Davis are doing it again! They have organised a global project centered around Dan Pink's "A Whole New Mind". It is named The Flat Classroom Project and involves seven schools and over one hundred students. I look forward to the projects created by these students, as their work is authentic, for global eyes, and peer reviewed. The best part? The students involved know it and do superior work!
In anticipation of this project I question how the concept of the flat world and all it conjures resonate with where you are as a learner? Like anything, we can internalise an idea and build new experiences/ new spins but where does the concept lead you.
Technorati Tags: flatclassroomproject julielindsay vickidavis globalproject
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:16 AM
Sunday, October 21, 2007
The learners in my courses have entered the conversation. There were technological hurdles, there were log-on issues, there were navigation problems, and all sorts of Plan B's upon which I relied. But now, the conversation really begins.
Many learners are just discovering that they are really in charge of their learning. I no longer give word limits, one correct answer requirements, or multiple choice questions. My QARs (Question Answer Relationships) are not "Right There" but are "On Your Own". This is disconcerting to some, disorienting to several.
Educators have for so long, and the majority continue this, approached education as sages on individual stages. I am not a sage and not even a guide on the side. I am merely a learner in the classes assigned to me. As all learners awaken to the veracity of this, they begin to deepen those conversations.
Increasing the depth of our conversations will augment our metacognition. This is a desirable objective for not only the study skills class but also for all learners who will enter society in the future.
How do we facilitate the formation of depth? One way all of you can help us is by going to the class blogs and commenting. If you are a learner, you qualify.
Another way, I think, is constantly providing challenging projects. Providing global projects and not seeking traditional offline pieces of paper are other ways. Remember tweens and teens spend hours playing video games that are difficult and they do not win. This generation of middle school learners really enjoy multi-player games and do not realise the learning that is taking place, nor do they need to recognise this learning.
Friday afternoon the middle school gaming club got together to play with the flight simulator and some online multiplayer games. I didn't get to challenge because my lack of knowledge was needed to assist everyone to use the games. I would have died quickly anyway. They don't know it, but they were deepening the conversation, taking it in directions others do not expect and with which they may not be comfortable .
Help me to deepen the conversations with all learners.
Technorati Tags: conversations K12 global projects gaming videogames
Posted by Lisa Durff at 11:57 AM
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi theorized that when a person is in a mental state that fully immerses them in what they are doing, they are in flow. A state of flow is characterised by a feeling of energised focus, when one has a distorted sense of time and lacks self consciousness.
I was so in flow this morning while working on the study skills blog that I almost forgot to get ready for work. I encourage the middle school students to immerse themselves in flow in order to augment work quality.
If we all could enter that flow not only when playing video games, as James Paul Gee suggests, but when learning any skill or strategy, I think our learning would be more effectual. If we could facilitate this flow for learners in our schools, we could ..... oh my!
Technorati Tags: flow MihalyCsikszentmihalyi JamesPaulGee learning
Posted by Lisa Durff at 11:31 AM
Tuesday, October 16, 2007
This Friday my school has an early dismissal, presumably to allow teachers time to figure and record grades. I will play games.
Shocking, coming from an old Mennonite woman. I love to shock people, it's so much fun!
A bunch of middle school boys are gathering after early dismissal, signed permission slips in hand, in the computer lab to play with Flight Simulator and a multi-player football game.
Readers remember I read James Paul Gee this summer. Turns out 85% of games sold last year were rated 'E', 'E+10' or 'T', translating to 'Everyone', 'Everyone ages 10 & up' or 'Teen'. Statistics also show teen violence has dropped at the same time video games have become more popular.
I can observe how middle school boys learn by watching them play games Friday afternoon. Only one has played the multi-player games we will be using and none have played with the Flight Simulator, so there will be bunches to learn. I hope they all remember their joysticks!
Technorati Tags: games middleschool k12 mmorph JamesPaulGee
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:08 PM
Monday, October 15, 2007
How do I personally contribute towards taking care of our environment? I live with less. I intentionally use only what I need. I find I really need very little. The money not used for my support is clear then for me to give away. Do what? Yes, that's right, give away. The more I can save monthly, the more I can give to people who really need it.
I do have several missions which receive monthly. I have a sponsor child in Brazil. I donate to my school. Some say I must be touched. I thank God He put me here to help others in these ways.
I can't do much to help protect our environment. But if everyone did just a little bit, then a lot would be accomplished.
Technorati Tags: blogactionday2007 environment morewithless
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:54 PM
Friday, October 12, 2007
Today's learners are best described as:
- multimedia literate
- knowledge constructionists/connectionists
- visionaries who act on their visions
- connected 24/7
- impatient with delays
Are school classes need to recognise this. We need to stop viewing new technologies as bad things that have no educational value. A teacher told me yesterday that there was no educational use for iPods. Oh my. Even if learners only listen to music while writing, research backs that up. As I write this, I am listening to podcasts, checking twitter, ignoring my RSS, making last minute changes to lesson plans posted on the blogs, checking email, and drinking coffee.
As Warlick alludes, the boundaries are now not clearly delineated. Education is not linear any longer. Education is looped, networked, global, outside the box. Our classrooms in k12 need to reflect the way all learners learn best. Oh, btw, there is a reason to use a laptop in school. I've heard the opposite in my school - really.
Technorati Tags: k12 education global network learning DavidWarlick k12online07
Reference: Conole, G. (2007, October 11). Digital Kids. e4innovation.com Retrieved October 12, 2007 from http://e4innovation.com/
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:13 AM
Thursday, October 11, 2007
Like Janetta Garton had on Tuesday, I had another geek out evening on Wednesday! First I went to see the coolcat in her Ustream, then arthus bridged a skypeconference call with Ustream, followed by Teachers Teaching Teachers webcast at edtechtalk. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I also got nothing done which I had planned to do. Kristin also streamed a show where she and Vicki interviewed arthus. It is a must see.
I am thoroughly impressed, though not really surprised, that a 14 year old student accomplished what Will was unable to do. I'm not sure how he feels about that, but I think it is pretty cool, a sign of the times, and a red flag to us all. The frantically waving red flag is a warning. This generation is indeed powering down for school and powering up to learn after school. Teachers have got to get with the program now or be outdated. I for one don't want to be outdated.
We all need to integrate these tools into our classrooms right now, without delay!
Technorati Tags: arthus coolcateacher weblogged ustream web2.0 jgarton
Posted by Lisa Durff at 9:15 AM
Wednesday, October 10, 2007
Chris Lehman and some learners at his school got together today to produce a Ustream. One of the big ideas they shared was that one owns the learning more when one produces a project than when one regurgitates on a test. This truth speaks volumes to all of us, especially since it is the learners themselves who are speaking.
The new tools are cool and fun. But the big payoff is whether using these new tools grabs the attention of disinterested learners. The same content needs to be conveyed via these new tools. Getting all learners, both adults and others, on board successfully using these new tools is the first big challenge. I make no secret that I do not have expertise in all these great new tools.
Many educators feel they are experts in their classrooms and are in charge of the learning that takes place there. I reminded a class today that they are in charge of their own learning. It is up to each one of them to do their work as unto the Lord. I had a young lady ask me how many sentences I required on the challenge with which I presented them. I answered her by replying that she was in charge of her learning, I was not. I merely facilitate the learning, I continually assess learning, I differentiate for learning, and I keep a tally (commonly called grades) of learning. I think she wanted me to be somebody I am not.
Technorati Tags: SLA ChrisLehman Ustream learning assessment
Posted by Lisa Durff at 6:32 PM
Monday, October 8, 2007
Which stories define us? To whom do we listen? What messages shape our values and influence our decisions? When we finish pondering these answers for ourselves, we need to ponder the answers for all learners.
I just viewed a fantastic preconference keynote by David Warlick. There is a live, active chat to accompany it. His metaphor of the airport is fully supported by his presentation, although he doesn't spell it out, nor should he.
He talks about new boundaries for learning, but are we listening? We all need to equip today's learners with the skills and strategies they will need in order to live successful lives in the 21st century. The best way to predict the future is to invent it (Kay, 1971). We are in the position now to invent that future, to define new boundaries.
William Gibson once said, The future is here. It's just not widely distributed yet. I could contend that the future IS widely distributed and we must incorporate it or be quickly outdated .
Incorporating the ISTE standards may be a place to begin. I 'teach' computer and assert that I need to work myself out of a job if I am indeed doing my job. Digital literacies ideally should be fully integrated into every class we offer. That canon of information cannot be contained in hardbound copies any longer, but is dynamic, transformative, online, and transient.
Are you listening?
Technorati Tags: k12online07 dgitalliteracies DavidWarlick
Posted by Lisa Durff at 12:25 PM
Saturday, October 6, 2007
Many IT departments in the USA are currently tightening control over learners' abilities to access specific internet sites. The tightening noose frustrates many of us who are trying to integrate these sites into our classrooms.
The all powerful IT departments are no longer keeping us connected but censoring where we go. This can have the good intention of keeping kids safe but ...
This current censorship seems very much like we are on the receiving end of IT departments' fears. When people are afraid they historically tighten control. Wars begin this way. Sometimes our fears are well-founded, like when a child reaches out for a hot stove-we all tighten control to prevent injury.
It does seems IT departments today are tightening control. Could they be afraid of losing control? It is too late for that, they just haven't realised that yet.
Let's think about this. Learners' today have expensive phones and/or iPods with them 24/7. They can connect to the internet instantly outside of the school's control. They can listen to podcasts of whatever they downloaded outside of the school's control.
Tightening control is not going to work. The IT departments have already lost control. So where do we go from here?
School's need to be teaching effective digital citizenship. We need to desperately teach current learner's how to safely navigate, how to ethically communicate, how to globally connect. Major corporations like Xerox, IBM, & 3M require employees to be digitally literate. We need to facilitate this or our graduates will be handicapped.
Kelly Christopherson writes on this topic. I recommend you both read him and blog your own thoughts. Enter the conversation, be counted, impact collective knowledge.
Technorati Tags: ITdepartments k12 censorship control KellyChristopherson
Posted by Lisa Durff at 9:48 AM
Wednesday, October 3, 2007
I was trained to write lesson plans using the Madeline Hunter format. I have been recently informed I will be observed using this criteria. This worries me, because I do not use direct instruction in my classrooms.
I believe that knowledge is best constructed by the learner. Learners in our classrooms are not empty vessels for us to fill with knowledge. Yet whether I daily spell out objectives and formative assessments appear to mean more than whether students are capable at 21st century skills. I guess I will fail this too. I failed kindergarten - no, really I did!
What is important then and should there be a formalised, generalised, lesson plan format that we all must follow? I am much to chaotic to go for that. Our brains are too. Our brains are like jungles.....how could the best Hunter lesson plan impose order on that, let alone engage any brain? Kids power down to attend school as it is....
I may be knocking on your door looking for a hand out soon....
Technorati Tags: MadelineHunter directinstruction lessonplanformat brainresearch
Posted by Lisa Durff at 10:08 PM
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
How far have I traveled in the last few minutes? I was just conversing with people around the USA and Canada as a class of preservice teachers with Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach listened.
Now I find myself down under listening to a presentation at a conference there. How many miles have I traveled? Well, really, zero. I am sitting the whole time in my desk chair at my desk in my apartment in Northeast USA.
We live in incredible times. Earlier today, learners in my classes exchanged comments with others in Wales, Australia, & another state. Yes, it is an incredible world with those wrinkles scrunching up to touch each other in unexpected places.
If audio can span the miles easily now, why not video? Truth is, it can. The timezones are the main thing to overcome.
How many miles have you traveled today?
Technorati Tags: conversation collaboration conference transglobal
Posted by Lisa Durff at 7:18 PM
Saturday, September 29, 2007
This morning, I was invited to attend a Change of Command Ceremony at Fort Indiantown Gap, PA, by my friend Teresa. Little did I know....
Teresa Gallagher is now a colonel in the Army National Guard. She is now the first woman in command of a brigade of this size. I learned this from my neighbor, who watched the ceremony on tv!
She is rated in four kinds of helicoptors. I just know she flies an Apache and the learners at SSVC think that is cool! She is now the Assistant Superintendent at SSVC. I just know she started as a Physics teacher. Her son and Chester are friends. Chester is my friend's son. It is a small world.
Teresa is a humble person. Her other son attends Georgia Tech. Today at the reception following her ceremony, she was the last one to eat. I wish I were more like my friend.
There is probably a connection here with the important skills to facilitate for 21st century learners. Instilling excellence while maintaining a humble attitude would be a possible focus. I am still thinking of how humble my friend is.....
Technorati Tags: 28thCAB ArmyNationalGuard SSVC
Posted by Lisa Durff at 8:27 PM