Category Archives: edubloggers

Now what?

I’m sitting in the Philly airport with about 40 minutes left on battery. My brain is overflowing with thoughts and ideas that I’ve taken away from EduCon 2.0. Though I still need time for reflection, I have four main takeaways from Philly:

1. The students: What ever we do, it’s got to be about the students. We need to listen to them, have conversations with them, and help them develop. That work was quite evident at SLA. I was amazed at the number of students that took part in the weekend – SLA students “worked” all weekend manning video cameras, taking part in the sessions, setting up lunch, keeping us full of coffee and donuts, and more. When they were called randomly for their input, they gladly (and comfortably) gave it. You could tell that they felt part of the culture of the school and they were proud of it. (Nice work Chris and all the SLA teachers).

2. Keep having the conversations: We are all agents of change and we need to engage with others in our schools in conversations about teaching. Change will not happen quickly (probably slower than we wish), but it will not happen if we don’t keep talking the talk and walking the walk.

3. F2f conferences are necessary for re-energizing: EduCon2.0 came at the right point in the year for me. I was a little worn down and frustrated from the lack of adoption or even the lack of interest in adopting new tools by some teachers in our school. Going to EduCon2.0 pumped me back up again, gave me renewed hope, and a confirmation that what I am doing is not only important and worthwhile, but also necessary.

These are all thoughts I want to expand on later, but I wanted to get this on “paper” before my flight home.

Thanks again to Chris and company for all of their work on this wonderful conference.

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Will Richardson at WH

Will Richardson is here to speak to the entire conference this morning. His focus – how the world is changing. Coming to us from a parent, educator and blogger. I blogged during his presentation:

He has given us the link to his wiki.

Blogging has transformed his learning. He wouldn’t be here(speaking to us) if it weren’t for blogging. How many have seen Did You Know? Only a handful. Future for our kids is much different then current. schools are preparing kids for today (not future).

Obama site – shows how things are changing. It’s a social network – hundred thousands connecting through website – money raised. People are connecting now in ways that they could never do before. Every candidate on MySpace. First primary will be held on MySpace in January (no longer in NH). You Tube debates – NCLB video. Get kids to post comments, videos, etc.

Journalism – 70% internet traffic is file sharing. Most sites are becoming blogs (USA Today). Users can engage in the conversation by commenting. IBM has 26,000 blogs, 20,000 wikis – own social network (Wikinomics). Advertising is about the conversation – not marketing the product.

75% college kids have Facebook page – 5-7% of educators – real disconnect. A real shift is happening and we need to adjust. Technologies are changing – no more keyboards, social networks. Different levels of access – 1 out of 3 in Philly have not been on internet. Privacy is shifting.

Transformative time – we need to address these changes. Need to respond to these shifts.

Blogging – best part, responses to posts – clarify, push, engage in conversation around ideas. powerful. It has become his classroom – amount he’s learned in last 6 years of blogging far exceeds his formal education. Opportunity (problem) – kids are already getting it. Passion-based networks – fanfiction.net – interacting, feedback. Kids doing this beyond school.

Typically think of MySpace for social networking. negative to adults, but it is a network – connecting with others. Is anyone teaching MySpace in curriculum? One person. No wonder kids are using it this way. Authors, musicians, politicians are using MySpace to engage. Extremely important to learning – we need to understand it.

Nata village blog – Clarence Fisher – Hilary’s blog. comments from Africa. Authentic learning from experts.
Information and literacy is changing. 46645 – text message to google. Text a questions and it will ring you back the answer. Are we teaching kids how to access information? MIT open courseware – taking courses for free. How do you help yourself to learn? Content is changing – wikipedia – collaboration and openness. Literacy – m*rtinl*therk*ng.org. editors of information – huge challenge. Can they write in hypertext – to connect ideas.

Tapping into experts – Secret Life of Bees Blog. Flat Classroom Wiki Project, Radio Willow Web, Marco Torres – video.

People beginning to use the tools but the pedagogy is not changing. Need to take the next step into the conversations and connections that can be made. Educators need to understand the potential (networking, connections, conversations) themselves. Need to tap into the connections available to you on the internet. Then you can model these connections for the students.

It was a good presentation. He presented in a follow-up session later in the morning – the internet connection was down so I couldn’t blog it. But I came out of there (the whole day) with a few thoughts (Ok, more than a few…). Whipple Hill’s website can use some improvements. To get kids to use it more, we need to give them some more options like: let them comment on other kid’s profiles (a “wall”), let kids and teachers comment together, let kids upload content to their profile – pictures, homework, presentations.

Parents are another audience all together.  I’m still trying to envision how the website can best serve them.  Do they need a community or do they just want content?

These are just some quick ideas that came out of today. As I digest more of the day after my drive, I’ll post some more thoughts.

Outta my shell

I got wind of the latest incarnation of the EduBloggerCon, EduBloggerWorld. It’s a Ning social network set up by Steve Hargadon to bring Edubloggers from all over the world together. As Steve says in his latest post:

The site is not meant to replace the engaged dialog of the blogosphere, but to complement it with personal connections.

I joined right up to help my cause as I begin my new initiative to actively blog (rather than just read) and to make connections and have conversations with people all over the edublogoshpere. I’ve been preaching about the value of these connections to the faculty at school for a while now and finally I have decided to practice what I preach. I’m still a little slow and a little short on words – it’s summertime after all – but I’m working on it. What’s next for me? Twitter? That’s for another day.