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I think I can go home now June 30, 2008

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Uncategorized.
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I was one of the lucky ones who got into the “Cell Phones as Learning Tools” session. The line to get in was crazy and unfortunately there were people who were turned away. This session is amazing – my head is spinning with thoughts about cell phones (and the somewhat of a dead zone our school is in).

Back to the session – more later.

I should have learned… (Session 2) June 30, 2008

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Web resources.
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I was talking to the Mimio rep and I was set to be about 15 minutes early for the Google Earth session but it was full and closed. So, I sit in the BYOL laptop session on NASA’s new web resources. All of the information is in the public domain (which completely rocks). Click on “For Educators” for great lesson ideas, videos, etc.  In the student section, you will find more opportunities for students to do with NASA, there is also a “Play and Learn” section as well as a voting/opinion poll section, material divided by grade level, it is going to be good. Media also has podcasts, audio and video as well as other great multimedia resources (and fun stuff for anyone who is intrigued with space).

The bigger challenge in here is intermittent internet access. While the signal from the ISTE network is strong, it isn’t allowing everyone to get online every time. The presenters just lost their internet signal (and the guy next to me and I just got ours). Difficult challenge for a “bring your own laptop” section.

NASA is doing a great job putting content out there in an education-friendly way. Unfortunately I think I’m going to miss tomorrow’s deadline for new astronaut applications…

One down.. many to go! June 30, 2008

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in necc, On Blogging.
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Blogging Communities in the Classroom: Creating Engaging Learning Experiences with Konrad Glogowski, University of Toronto (Canada) just concluded. Interesting session. I think I’m going to really get brave this fall and get my seniors blogging. I would seriously like to play Fantasy Congress with them if I can get my head around it – but that should be tied to a session on games & simulations, I suppose. Notes from this session are below. (Italics are my thoughts/comments as they happened.) Bottom line thought for me at the moment, I’m lucky for the moment as I’m teaching in a private school but evaluation is still huge. Why aren’t the legislators who pass the standards here? They should be.

The session was a good one – I’m glad I chose it

http://www.teachandlearn.ca/blog teachandlearn@gmail.com

Grounded Theory = let them go & observe

Student participation necessitated a shift in teaching practices – they were happy with learning from each other and writing

3 steps:
1 – create a community 2 – extend classroom discourse 3 – redefine teacher presence

“If you have enough time to read everything they write, they are not writing enough”

Rule 1
Once blogging really gets going, it is impossible to keep up. Sometimes the most powerful thing you can say to your student is just a comment e.g.”I really like the entry you wrote on hockey”

Rule 2
Stop marking, start reading as if you are reading a novel, as if you are reading what you choose to read, not reading as if you are reading because you’re paid to read them.

Make your classroom a “third place” where are people wanting to spend time? “The Third Place (Project for Public Spaces)

We need to encourage writing – extend classroom discourse – give them freedom to set up their blogs as desired (banners, widgets, etc) –

Sometimes students may not write a lot (they may quote things, etc) but they will demonstrate that they are reading (shouldn’t that be one of our goals too?)

Socialability (PPS = quality for public space) or people won’t go there. Role of teacher: give students freedom to allow them to interact with others who share similar gals. Suport these interactions and not just forcing them to interact all the time.

Accessibility – Online, need to promote everything that happens in our community, make it easy to access. Role of teacher: help everything be accessible.

Avoid school writing: voiceless & generic – specific guidelines – we teach guidelines first and expect students to follow (where is the value in the student’s opinion? – Writing is presented as a skill that is acquired and does not come from the self – teachers determine the content – school writing is always written for one purpose – most school writing is written by one person (who may or may not really care that much – how much do you really care about the writing you’re reading)… How much do students really care about the “Well done 16/20”? Why do we continue to do it? We do it thinking they will read and learn from our notes how to things right the next time. They are writing for the A. Well, then we force them to re-write, “that, of course, promotes ownership” (chuckle)
Rubrics – what do people really get out of that? (Where do the points between things go, anyway?) They have the potential for supporting the conversation but we don’t finish that. We hand back the rubric and move on.

A guy just came in– I got banged in head with his bag as he squished between the guy I’m sitting next to – no more wall to lean on, there is a network system plug behind me now – bummer and need Advil (you wanted to know that, didn’t you?)
Expressive Writing (Britton et al, 1975) Informal talk – Content over forum – language is used as a tool to shape meaning (the participants just played “typical class” asking the presenter to go back one slide as they weren’t done writing what was on it)

Example: quality family writing on problem – teacher would wonder what to do. The posting was made at 10pm, 8 kids commented by the next morning, more than 20 soon after that – and the teacher could verbally follow up, not worry.

E.g.: student posts angry post about being angry about being sent to boarding school which followed with a composition on control.

E.g. which has more power – students commenting and complementing each other’s work or the 16/20 from the teacher? There is still a place for the grade, but the peer comments are huge.

The traditional teacher voice is so limiting. Don’t be afraid to lose the “teacher voice” connect with the students.

It took this presenter almost a year to learn to respond to his students well – we have been trained to evaluate everything we see –

Challenges to teachers to make this work:
1. Instructional conversations –
Participate as a reader not an evaluator –

2. Show you’re human

3. make everyone feel heard

How to grow a blog – show a watering can “Evaluation sheet” show how full the can is based on how they are doing to “grow” their blogs (this was middle school students)

Stair cases show on the stairs where you see the student’s growth

Blog entry idea: Evaluation v standards

Dialog supercedes the lecture – Marshall McCluhan 1967
All existing school structures will disappear within the next century…

Now speaking… June 29, 2008

Posted by Wendy Wolfe in Random Thoughts, Uncategorized.
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James Surowiecki speaking – my thoughts flowing (I’ve never tried to write like this before)

Now stepping to the podium – Francis Galton and the ox – collective group wisdom, the crowd’s judgment wisdom can be remarkably intelligent. If one can find a way to tap into that collective intelligence, the power is amazing.

So now, the keynote is streaming on ustream emanating from – I am constantly amazed at what is commonplace and what so many have never even heard of. And at least one person is watching the stream from Korea – it is amazing.

Web 2.0 tools that allow us to construct the net of social knowledge and power – wiki, flickr, the power of Google, collaboration, rise to the level of the most intelligent, not least, in a crowd. What does it take to make a group smart?

Why are people so fearful of being intelligent? Get your hands dirty and think about things, truly ruminate about them, and then move forward? Move forward to the best, the highest point possible? Why is being the best in technology so scary for some schools? Do the five-year plans really work? Are things moving so quickly the five year plan is moot? Or is it imperative? The things I do in my classroom didn’t exist five years ago…’

Diversity of experience – avoid groups that are the same –

First Monday was not the best television show but it had a great quote: “Only a fool wants to hear the echo of his own voice.” How else would people grow? Makes sense.

Ok, I’m going to listen a little more, I hope the ustream is good for everyone watching, it seems to be going well, all the way to Korea which may as well be in the next room now, I guess.  Amazing. Enjoy your evening!