Connected Learning

Learning Is About Connections Of All Kinds…

Processing… Please Wait

That is how I’ve felt reading dozens of other people’s blog posts since my last one here at Connected Learning. At first it really bothered me that I didn’t feel like I had much to contribute, since seemingly everyone else is either smarter, deeper in thought, more experienced, etc., than I am.

Then I began to read how it seems most people, at least in our little educational technology part of the world, REALLY use blogging – to process and learn, discuss and debate, and ponder myriads of things, and NOT so much about pontificating a point of view. Whew! I feel a little better and a lot less like a doofus now!

I was very charged up reading so many posts made during NECC07, and knowing that NECC08 is in San Antonio (much closer to my home here in Wichita), I plan on attending and enjoying all the conference AND unconference things next summer. It was very apparent that I didn’t have to be there in Atlanta to feel some level of connection to the events, and I know I got as much out of it as I have from conferences I’ve attended in person. I’m looking forward to seeing how this year’s K12Online Conference does in intentionally connecting us through the digital world.

And finally, how do we flex the muscle and power of what we are experiencing with all of this into the classroom, and more importantly, into our students lives so they can carry it beyond the classroom? Those of us who are more early adopters and a little more at ease with edgy ways of doing things may feel OK launching into this brave new world, but so many of our colleagues are cautious and wary, and to a certain extent, justifiably so. It is very easy in education to be leery of the “new thing”, since we have so many new things popping up every year to try out. Sadly, it brings out the reluctance, and at worst, the cynic to a certain extent in all of us, I believe.

Somehow, we have to fight through the obstacles, and remember it all starts with one – one teacher taking one first step in one project or lesson with one new thing, and then keeping on by taking one step at a time. Even when that step feels like the one Indiana Jones took in “The Last Crusade”, where that first step required faith in what he couldn’t see, yet once taken, the path became very clear.

Maybe we just need Indy’s hat…

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July 23, 2007 Posted by | Education, Professional Development, Social Networking, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment

Losing The Battle, Not Just The Boys?

I sent this article from the 2/25/2007 Wichita Eagle to Scott McLeod (Dangerously Irrelevant), and I agree with his sentiment that it is just as much about engagement as it is about boys. And we need to make sure we are engaging the girls, too, because we can’t just presume that ALL girls will approach their education with eagerness.

Taking an active part of one’s education is a huge element in success, and how do we expect our young people to be competitive in a rapidly changing, interaction/communication drive, and innovation oriented world with our current focus on “drill and kill” for those oh so boring but oh so important (at least in the government’s eyes) multiple choice standarized tests? We actually probably are getting our students to perform better on these tests, but at what price? Love of learning? Lots of creative and innovative “outside the box” thinking? Passion for something you really are interested in? Perhaps we could strive for a society like the one in Harrison Bergeron where the goal is to be completely and utterly average.

Would the reality of what NCLB has become in our schools have been the recipe for getting us to the moon if this were the early 1960s? Yes, we need to help those students that struggle, but we ALSO need to make sure we push the middle and top end students to their fullest potential and not let them wallow and settle for just being good when their potential is higher.

How? We could continue to push the envelope that Web 2.0 allows us to push more easily. A place where everyone can participate in the discussion whether face to face or virtual, where everyone has the opportunity to have their voice be heard, where collaboration and teamwork are the norm, and hopefully where the joy and energy of learning thrive and develop. Oh sure we will still have to do assessments (but maybe in a different way) and we will still have to have many of the tried and true ways of “doing school” still take place, but if we can continue to incorporate the power of Web 2.0 into more of how we “do school” we can help our youngsters be better prepared for a real world THEY ALREADY LIVE IN. Personally, I’d rather they explore that world with guidance from those of us who have been around the block a few times, even if we don’t totally get all the technical stuff.

February 28, 2007 Posted by | Education, Web 2.0 | Leave a comment