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

DOPA Is Well-Intentioned, But, Well, DOPEY

I’m going to share several links below on this topic, because its all more eloquent than I could come up with, but I will share the following thoughts.

First of all, I understand the desire to protect kids, but totally shutting things off isn’t going to solve the problem. Kids will still access social networking sites, on their own time, with little or no guidance from adults. In fact, telling kids (or adults) they can’t do something is often a guaranteed way to make them want to do said thing. Remember how well Prohibition worked? Yeah, that’s effective education.

Brian Crosby’s reprisal of a DOPA article he wrote earlier this summer hits the nail on the head – there are many things that we have or let our kids do that present a risk, but we EDUCATE them on how to do said activity responsibly. Read his article, it is terrific.

Wes Fryer has inquired at his church to consider taking a proactive measure at addressing the issue rather than sticking their fingers in their ears and using the “la la la I am not listening if I just say you can’t do it the problem will go away” method. If they do, bravo to them for DOING something rather than just SAYING something.

There is an anti-DOPA petition online called Save Your Space – thanks to David Warlick’s Two Cents Worth blog I spotted it. And Andy Carvin has set up DOPA Watch – an aggregator that will use Technorati and Goolge News to find items that refer to DOPA.

It is obvious that most of our legislators have no idea of the power of the interactive web with tools like blogging, social networking, and “older” methods such as message boards and such. I, in the very short time I have been a part of this world of active engagement, have not only found a place where I can converse and debate a myriad of topics (ranging from ed tech to college basketball), but also a place where I can give MY voice a pedastal. Don’t you think our students deserve a chance to find their voice in this way too? Wouldn’t you rather it be done in a way that provides them guidance?

If you are a parent and you have fears about this unfamiliar world, my suggestion is to get in that world, if for no other reason to check on what your kids might be doing or sharing (you might find you enjoy it, too). Far too many kids seem to think that posting to their MySpace or Xanga site is a private matter and that adults don’t “belong” there or won’t know enough to find what they are writing. Some seem to not totally get that publishing something on the web makes it available to the whole online world, which tells me they need GUIDANCE. They want to communicate in this cool new way, we need to make sure they get their sea legs and know how to handle themselves properly as good digital citizens in the transparency of the online world. Which, by the way, is a world they will live in for their entire adult lives. A world in which we are still in the Christopher Columbus stages, a vast unknown with risks to be sure, but also with riches of the imagination that we might hardly be able to fathom at this early, perhaps revolutionary, point in the information age.

July 31, 2006 Posted by | DOPA, Legislation, Social Networking | Leave a comment