Monday, December 17, 2007

Web 2.0 Student Planning

I was visiting Vicki Davis’ latest post and it seems that she has her students doing some Web 2.0 planning. All of their initial plans look great, but I particularly like the first one. It’s a private school wide social network for parents, students, grandparents, and teachers. Facebook, Bebo, and Myspace move over for Vicki’s class! In Vicki’s words,

“The students decided immersive learning is the best. Additionally, they wanted the elementary students to participate. After a meeting with me, I set up
the site, they joined and I made them administrators (yes I did.) They customized the look, added RSS feeds, and have just done a tremendous job. They are in the process of setting up groups for every class.”

My first thought is what a great concept and tool. My second thought deals with safety issues. My last thought on the issue is a question, How long are we going to wait before we get on board and start implementing these technologies for the good of our students? Of course, I realize that we have to make sure that security is in place, but we must also move forward when we are able.

In most cases our curriculums are out dated due to circumstance. What is the circumstance? Most curriculum coordinators know little or nothing about technology. Technology has advanced at such a rapid pace that it has left most teachers, coordinators, and systems behind. Personally, I have to make time to investigate theses new technologies. That’s what I’m doing right now. Then I have to figure out whether or not they apply to my classes and if we can use them safely. This is exactly what Vicki is doing with her students.

Warm regards,

William Bishop (Bill)

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Idle thought and new beginnings!

My class hasn’t had the opportunity to work on our wiki, blog at our blog, or moodle about as much as I would like because our library is being renovated. Nevertheless, I had the opportunity go in there today and it looks great. We have some nice new flat screen televisions on the wall and they should be fully functional soon. Then we will be able to show videos and use them for presentations. Also, our library has new bookshelves, reference desks, and a fresh coat of paint. It looks great!

The students and I are very blessed to have such nice facilities. Our superintendent and the board spent the money well and now that the renovation is almost complete, I hope to get my students back into the media center soon. However, this semester is almost over and with testing taking place in the library over the next couple of weeks things look bleak. Oh well, we will get back in there when we can...

Unfortunately, my aspirations will one day most likely take me away from the classroom and the media lab. Sad but expected! I feel that I could be much more productive promoting 21st Century Skills from an administrative position. Hence, that is why I have to spend so much time away from this blog. Not only do I have my regular duties to attend to, but I also have my doctorial classes to keep up with. Maybe, it will all be worth it one day in the near future. Until then I will continue to do what I can to promote educational technology within my classes. I’m not promoting technology for the sake of promoting technology mind you. I’m using technology to promote learning.

What is the premise of using technology to promote learning? Well, it’s like getting the most bang for your buck. In public education we need to make sure that we are using our funds well and appropriately. We have to think about what teachers and students need and what they get from the experience. For teachers, the most bang for the buck usually comes from professional development. We have to make sure that PD is productive and worthwhile. For students, we need to make sure that we are spending our money in areas that will produce positive gains in learning for their future. I believe by utilizing our state and federal funds correctly this can be accomplished. Moreover, Web 2.0 technologies can provide a positive avenue to accomplish the aforementioned.

Unfortunately, many administrators don’t have a clue as to what Web 2.0 technologies are or how to apply them. This is unfortunate with the expansive growth of the information superhighway and our ever evolving networks. The world is becoming flatter by the second. As such, digital immigrants and digital natives come to mind.

Is there really such a thing as a digital native? If so, does being a digital native really have anything to do with age? Young teachers coming into the system often know less about technology than some of us older folks. Personally, I’m not certain that age has anything to do with technology skills. Technology skills in my opinion come from application thereof. With that being said, who is promoting 21st Century Skills in your school?

Warm Regards,

William Bishop

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