Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
I have always know that a digital divide exists among our school staff. We have teachers who are ready to use whatever technology is put in front of them and teachers who need lots of help or are unwilling to implement technology. It was not until this past week when we were at a national conference as a staff that the digital divide really stood out.
Those of us on one side of the digital divide went into the event with a presentation on Online Student Collaboration and plans to organize a Tweetup. We were really devastated by the lack of wifi available, however; we did not let the lack of wifi affect back channeling. We still used our cell phones to follow Twitter as closely as possible. We were excited about the opportunity to meet other people that we follow on Twitter. We were even more excited when we got someone new to try Twitter.
This is probably where the divide really became noticeable to me. We were excited to share with other people but we weren't sharing with our other colleagues. We were connected to other people while they were connected to each other. They shared their breakout sectional experiences with each other between sessions, at dinner, and in the evenings. Whereas, we shared our experiences as they were going on. We were continuously connected with each other even though we weren't in the same sessions.
Sunday, March 27, 2011
This week I got the chance to go with my colleagues to the LEA: Lutheran Education Association Convocation. It was a gathering of around 2,600 educators from all over the US and the world.
I was very excited about the conference because I going to present along with my colleagues (@kevcreutz, @gilmorekendra, and @karacornejo) on Online Student Collaboration. Feel free to check out our wiki of resources leastudentcollaboration.wikispaces.org
The conference in a whole was a very uplifting experience. Getting the chance to be with so many other educators that are in the same situations as myself was reassuring.
Conferences are a chance to grow as an educator. They give you the chance to learn new things and get new resources. I went to lots of great sectionals some helped me gain new resources for my classroom and some helped me personally.
Break out sessions
One that really stuck with me was called The Phoenix Effect presented by Dr. John Oberdeck of Concordia University Wisconsin. The Phoenix like in Harry Potter is a bird that bursts into flame and then rise again and is reborn from the ashes. Many teachers especially Lutheran teachers have a desire to please and do well. This means that these teachers have an inability to say, "no" and are perfectionists. When this happens teachers can experience a burn out or a point which they can't take any more.
We have to be able to recognize the signs that this is happening in ourselves and in others. Burn our can make both our bodies and mind sick. Unrelieved stress is not good on our bodies. When you feel stress you have to ask yourself, "How am I feeling?" "What am I telling myself?" "What is happening in my body?" We have to watch out for others and let them know when we think they are taking on too much.
Face to Face Interactions
My favorite part of the convocation was the face to face interactions that I was able to have with a few of the people that follow on twitter. Getting the chance to meet @dawblack and @coachburk at our tweetup/meetup was a great opportunity to make new connections. Those face to face interactions extended into the sectionals that I attended as I met teachers who wanted to learn more about what I do in my classroom. Through the conference we were also able to get some other teachers to use twitter. Using the #LEA2011 hashtag I was able to find new Lutheran teachers to follow to build my PLN.
The most difficult part of the conference was that wifi was not available in most areas of the convention center due to the cost to the organization. I was able to use the 3G on my ipad to use Twitter but without wife my Tweetdeck columns did not refresh as well as normal. I wasn't able to check on others tweets as easily as I have been able to do at other conferences. It also limited many of my colleagues who did not have access to devices other than their cell phones to get online. When leading our sectional, Online Student Collaboration we weren't able to get our participants online to experience the tools themselves.
Thank you to @gilmorekendra, @karacornejo, @kevcreutz, @bmarolf15, and @NateDomsch for the fun and fellowship on the bus and Thursday and Friday night.
*LEA logo from the LEA website www.lea.org
This week at school we got some new playhouses for the kids to play in. The playhouses were very popular but the kids quickly found an other way to use the materials.
Two of the boys started stacking the planks on top of each other. As they stacked I could her lots of problem solving in their conversations such as, "No that one needs to go on the bottom it is bigger." They were working together: "Get that one and put it on top."
The next day the some new students found the scraps of wood just as intriguing as the built a pirate ship.
They found new ways to use the boards, discovering that they could lay them on their sides to make walls. They also used the turned over basketball hoops as place to ride their pirate ship.
As they play we did realized that a few ground rules needed to be developed like:
2. because none of our pieces are the same length, we can't stand them on end and build a bridge
The only problem is we only have 5 scraps of wood. It looks like I need to expand their learning by giving them some more resources.
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
METC is about so much more than just going and listening to the presenters. It is a chance to connect with people who share the same passion as you do about teaching. The best answer I could give was, “It was great.” What more could I say, “It was great.” Now that I have had a few days to process, I find myself missing the connection and the time I was able to spend on Twitter soaking in so much information.
The first keynote, Rushton Hurley (@rushtonh), set things off on the right note. He said something that really stuck with me, “you may not have time to get through the curriculum because of the way you are teaching it. Even after only teaching for 5 years I have found that it is easy to keep doing what I have done in the past. Hurley reminded me that I need to make sure that what I do in the classroom is the best for the students. Is there another way I can teach my students this concept that will be more concrete for them or that will motivate them and make them excited about learning.
Kevin Honeycutt (@kevinhoneycutt) also inspired me. His excitement and passion for helping kids launch makes me want to find a ways to see the students in my classroom launch. We have a responsibility to develop a relationship with our students. We need to stay connected to the world out students are growing up in so that we know the lessons that they need to learn.
METC is about more than just inspiration it is also a chance to get new resources and new ideas for the classroom. I learned about great ways to give students their own voice with student blogs. Thank you @jhox1. I learned some fun ways to teach elementary students how to use processing tools. Thank you @tammyworcester. I still haven’t had the chance to search through all the resources provided by Hurley at https://sites.google.com/site/rushtonsmetc2011sessions/or by Honeycutt at http://kevinhoneycutt.org/
I also have to congratulate my colleague @kevcreutz for doing a two great presentations. Click on the links to check out his presentations (Twitter for Teachers
I also have to congratulate my colleague @kevcreutz for doing a two great presentations. Click on the links to check out his presentations (Twitter for Teachersand HOTTS: Higher Order Thinking Skills)
“We can do so many things without technology, and so many more with it.”—Rushton Hurley
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Monday, January 24, 2011
My little sister has made fun of me for a few years about my computer and obsession with Mac computers. After a lot of frustration with a new Dell laptop, she got her money back and purchased a MacBook Air. She asked me for some tips and things she needs to know in switching from PC to Mac.
Picture: "Macbook Air (wood background)" Renato Mitra. 4 Feb 2009. Creative Commons License
command+tab (switch between all open applications)
control+click (right click)
command+Q (quit open program)
command+control+shift+4 (screen capture)
command+control+shift+4, spacebar (window capture)
I also have "Spaces" set up so that I can use command+arrows to move through the spaces
If you have any suggestions for my sister as she adjusts to Mac please make a comment
More to come