Monday, March 29, 2010
John Couch highlighted the need for leadership by vision. He said that when one sees with his eyes it is called sight, when one sees with imagination it is called passion and vision. Apple's vision for education is a world in which all learners are empowered to discover their own special genius. For us as teachers we need to realise that technology is only technology to those born before the technology. We still see technology as a tool, whereas students see it as an environment - it is therefore today's students who are driving the need for transformation.
In the past concept of knowledge was accumulation. When I was at school all that was really required was to learn a lot of facts and regurgite them for tests. Today knowledge is more about collaboration and transformation. The learning emphasis is on relationships and inquiry. The new generation of students expect a learning environment that provides equivalent functionality to their social environment. They have a mobile lifestyle and expect the same in education and in addition they want it to adapt to their individual learning styles and encourage collaboration and teamwork. The question is, have we as teachers changed our pedagogy sufficiently in order to challenge and motivate these students?
John Couch went on to discuss the difference between education and learning: education is a noun - the process of receiving or giving systematic instruction, whereas learning is a verb - to gain or acquire knowledge or skill by study and experience. He finished with a quote from Seymour Papert: the role of the teacher is to create the conditions for invention rather than provide ready-made knowledge.
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
We then got onto blogging as a form of professional reflection and looked at how to set up a blog. Everyone signed up for a Blogger account.
Over the holidays when teachers have a bit of time to relax and play with both Blogger and Twitter I'm hoping that they will come to see how useful both these tools are. When we are back at school again I want to show them how they can use both these tools to connect with other educators worldwide and how this can lead to their students collaborating and creating with students around the globe.
I had hoped to get onto Google Reader today, but unfortunately the time went too fast. I realise it's better to stick to just one or two things and do them really well, rather than inundate our teachers with many new things that they might find overwhelming.
For future sessions I also want to show them some Web 2.0 tools that they can use with their students. Some of my favourites include Bitstrips, Xtranormal, Prezi, VoiceThread and Glogster. I can also see possibilities with Zimmertwins.
I'm excited to be able to do these sessions and after the holidays I'll be raring to go with the next one!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Our Grade 2 students have made connections with other students around the world using skype and email as they have been investigating how the weather around the world affects life on Earth. They have asked questions about things like clothing, food, housing, animals and plants. This week they made a VoiceThread to share their learning.
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Kodak Top 10 Tips for Great Pictures website and discussed why some photographs were better than others.
You can view a slideshow with more of the Grade 4 photographs by clicking here.
Photo Credit: All photos were taken and edited by Grade 4 students: Katie, Mads, Jack B, Lucy, Jordi, Soma, Struan and Zsa Zsa.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
This week the kites were mostly finished - we have some amazing shapes and sizes and a variety of different materials being used with varying degrees of success. By the end of Friday afternoon some of the students were even ready to go outside and test them so that they could then make modifications to their designs.
Friday, March 19, 2010
“If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange these apples then you and I will still each have one apple. But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas.”George Bernard ShawEach of our Grade 2 classes has contacted 4 schools around the world. They have discovered by talking with students in South Africa and receiving emails from Australia that in the southern hemisphere it is summer. They have contacted schools in Canada and Alaska and discovered that they are right in the middle of winter. They have heard from students in India and Thailand and found out that places near the equator don't have a big difference between summer and winter and that the children there wear summer clothes all year round. Last week, while skyping with a school in Spain, I heard one of the students ask the question "Do you have a temperate climate?" and then went on to say "Well, I suppose you do as you just told us that you have 4 seasons".
Sunday, March 14, 2010
Last week I ran across this article about the 80/20 rule of time management. Basically what this article says is that 20% of your efforts produce 80% of your results and the idea is that we should focus on that 20% to make the most efficient use of our time. In addition 20% of our colleagues probably give us 80% of our support - these are the people and the relationships we have to nurture! I guess the idea is that by just focusing on the most important 20% - those jobs and people that are vital to us - this will automatically help us to manage our time better and probably help us feel like a better person too. So the next time I'm asked to take on something else I'm going to ask myself: Is this in my 20%, and if it isn't, then I'm going to try to say no. Wish me luck. I'm not very good at saying no!
Photo Credit: Eternal Clock by Robbert van der Steeg
In my circle we use the metaphor of a river with boats – you have the speedboats, the sailboats, the barges, and the rocks. The speedboats move right along with the changes – sometimes ahead of the changes. The sailboats can go with the changes – sometimes the wind changes the directions. The barges come along, but slowly. The rocks let the current run over them – refusing to move; however, they do get “molded” over time – and eventually the current is strong enough they can get swept away with it.
The key for me, as an administrator, is to not get caught up on the rocks – but steer clear so I can help the speedboats keep going, be the wind to help steer the sailboats in the right direction, and keep leading the barges.
I recently attended the CUE 2010 conference and had the pleasure of listening to Carol Anne McGuire speak. I’ll paraphrase a particularly apt comment she made.
She said something to the effect of, “My grandmother was a brain surgeon at the top of her field. That was 50 years ago. Would you have her perform brain surgery on you?”
Obviously not. Too much has changed.
Then she said, and again I’m paraphrasing, “No, actually my grandmother was a teacher. Would you have her substitute for you?”
The answer is the same. Too much has changed. We are not in the same society or world as 50 years ago. It doesn’t do anyone, especially students, any good to go on teaching like we still live in that world.
Photo Credit: Sundown at Boracay by MalNino Archival Mode
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Clearly, it’s easy for our well-funded schools to buy hardware, but it’s not so easy to develop and articulate a clear vision for what to do with those tools, or to implement long-term, effective professional development in order to make the most of the things we bought, and many of our school leaders prefer a more “hands off – let the tech team take care of tech” approach, rather than a true understanding of what this hardware should be creating in our schools.