Sunday, May 27, 2007

Fear

The fear of what could go wrong can’t stop me from doing what’s right...
Chris Lehman's interview with Steve Hargadon.
We have on our local radio program a young announcer who tries something new everyday and then reports to her audience. So in the spirit of novelty, pushing the envelope, and being a trailblazer (at least in the Four State area), I am going to try at least one new thing every week.
I already started this weekend. I have been starting a wiki for organising my summer tech courses. I read the program manager's instruction on the Horizon Report, copied Vicki's code, changed the search terms, and saved. When my page refreshed, my mouth dropped open! I didn't know it was that easy. (I excel at copy and paste skills)
So that is my something new for last week. This week - making a digital story. I will add sound to pics and upload. We'll see how it goes....
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Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Prepositions

To what do they refer? Location, right. We use them all the time. But what need for physical location references is there in a virtual world?
Those digital natives are already eliminating them in their language. Watch out, Merriam-Webster!
For example, my kids don't "comment on" a blog post, like you or I would. They "comment" someone. I intuitively correct them. But should I? Shouldn't they rather correct me? I need to comment people, not comment on their posts. They are leaving out the prepositions and doing the verbs to people, not their products. What a lesson this is for me!
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Thursday, May 17, 2007

Is privacy a right or a privilege?

The question has been raised whether personal privacy will exist as we move forward into the digital age. It seems less important to the digital natives. I wonder whether this is a recklessness of young age or is it just not an important concept anymore?
In an age where any can find anyone in a matter of seconds, is there really any point in defending privacy? Our kids seem to take it for granted, but is this wise? Could the majority of responsible people push the minority of prowlers off the digital landscape, making the internet safer for everyone?
Giving up one's perceived right to privacy requires one to give up control. We live in an industrial age that revolves around control. Teachers control, employers control, the government controls...But when this privacy is relinquished, control of the many by one is replaced by collaboration of many.
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Sunday, May 13, 2007

Predicting the future

What a middle school student says:
The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
To envision the future that no one can see we must have at least 2020 vision. For some people this may be very difficult. For others it may be very easy.
There are a couple of things 21st century education requires. First, students must want to learn. Second, teachers must want to teach. Thirdly, there must be clear communication.

A middle school perspective, but he got the main point of Karl Fisch's Keynote. The assignment was to take Cornell Notes while listening to the keynote. Then the next class, they were to write these essays based upon their Cornell notes.
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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Another Meme - oh bother...

This one is a differentation meme....
e following are my answers to the 10 questions about classroom differentiation.
1. Do you differentiate by content, instructional method, assignment or some other way?
All of those.
2. For whose benefit do you differentiate? The students' benefit obviously.
3. To what percentage do you differentiate you assignments? 100%, 50%, 10%?
100%
4. What are the immediate student benefits of differentiation?
The ability to do the work and feel successful. Teaching them in their zone of proximal development.
5. What are the long term benefits for teachers?
Increased breadth of instructional strategies.
6. Were you taught about differentiation before or after you became a teacher?
In grad school.
7. Does differentiation take more of your time to implement than other instructional approaches?
Yup.
8. How do you keep from differentiating only to your own interests and styles?
Refer to Gardner's MI theories in a grid with Bloom's. I have yet to put in Blooms revised, but that is a good idea.
9. Is there such a thing as too much differentiation?
I don't think it's possible.
10. Have you ever sat through a lecture on differentiation? Bonus: Did you find it ironic?
Every sage on the stage workshop, conference, presentation, & lecture is ironic. I try not to be rude and I think I fail miserably.
(Can you perceive how tired I am?)
I tag the following 5 people:
Brian Crosby
Wes Fryer
Eduardo Peirano
Elizabeth Davis
Joyce Valenza
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Saturday, May 5, 2007

The nature of knowledge

Where does knowledge reside? Can it really be measured by standardised tests where students fill in bubbles?
Howard Gardner claimed everyone is intelligent, but not all are intelligent in the linguistic sense. How can we measure these other eight intelligences, and do we want to limit their development by doing so?
Knowing does not just happen inside your brain, as claimed by some. It is also interpersonal. It is social. It is not cheating. Think about the present business world where our students are headed. Does anyone give tests there? Are business people collaborating on projects there?
Recently a lot has been written in the blogosphere about collaboration. When I write this or lesson plans or anything, I have several IM windows open, a couple Skype chats going, am listening to audio blogs (I know, I need to do mine) or podcasts, am checking Ning and Jaiku and email. Do we really think kids aren't while they do homework online? Homework is already social and those who know how to collaborate are ahead of the game!
I don't know how to get away from the tests. I don't have th answers. But when those entering Kindergarten this fall graduate in 2020 and get their teaching certificates 4 years later, I really don't think they will assess students with bubble exams.
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Friday, May 4, 2007

As for me and my house...

...we will respect others. We will seek the good in each one. We will pray for God's will to be done in their lives. My students and I pray that those bereaved and traumatised by the recent events at VA tech have been set upon a path towards healing as we continue to pray for everyone of them.
I almost made it. Observing blog silence this week in a sign of solidarity for those affected by events at VA tech has been difficult for me. I tend to be a rather verbose individual. I did not say eloquent. I said verbose. It's like the difference between a gourmet and a gourmand.
With only fifteen wake-ups left, I am struggling to fit in every morsel of web2.0 tools these students may need next year. My 7th graders are working on collaborative commercials. As can be expected some 'get it' and some don't. They will have a nice surprise, if they come to school, on the last day, thanks to Vicki Davis and Beth Ritter-Guth.
My English class has no idea what awaits them on the last Senior Day in school, if they come to class. Let's hope they do the homework the night before, which will tell them to bring those iPods (I am the only teacher who allows them ever, and then only during writing so far...I'm working on it....) I hope I can give these students a taste of years to come in their education.
The maths I don't know yet, so if anyone has a light bulb...oder dass funfzele ist raghaglt (that's really Swabish for ya!)
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