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Monthly Archive for May, 2006

Recently, I made the statement to my colleagues that I have learned more this past year listening to my iPod and reading EdTech blogs than I have in the previous 10 years. I feel so fortunate to have tuned into the edublog and podcasting community. Finally, I can learn from others on a continual basis about using technology as a tool to engage students in learning.

One of the topics for discussion in our district is how to encourage teachers to use technology as a tool, when appropriate, for instruction. Right now, we are concentrating on Open Court, which is our district adopted reading program in Grades K-5. How can we share resources and best practices? My weekend PD, reading blogs and listening to podcasts, also touched on PD and seemed to fit in well with how to approach this.

Jeff Utecht, on his The Thinking Stick blog, on several recent posts, talks about changing the model of PD we offer our teachers. In is entry entitled: What could a teacher do with a laptop? Jeff outlines several ways we could change PD:

  • Create individualized RSS aggregator for their subject/area based off information in a PD session.
  • Interact and add to a wiki session in real time.
  • Take notes in a common document using writely or other online program and share them instantly.
  • Blog about the training during the training
  • Browse the web for resources and connections during the training instead of after the training.
  • Create a social bookmarking site using del.icio.us or other site where people could create a resource rich site for all to share.
  • Listen to podcasts or watch videos on a personal screen rather then on a large presentation screen, giving those in the back row the same view as those in the front.

What great suggestions! We need to model effective use of technology as a tool, engaging educators in conversation as they learn to use the new tools.

Wes Fryer posted a well written (as always) blog on the CONSTRUCTIVE use of disruptive technologies, and advocates that engaged learning through conversation is not experimental and can be observed in the classrooms of master teachers, easily accessible on the web. The comments (part of the conversation) by master teachers to this post are equally inspiring.

I also learned about Primary Access, but I can’t remember who blogged about it. What an amazing site, where students can access primary documents to tell a digital story. Excellent idea! This would be a great tool for projects done in the research cycle of Open Court.

Next, I played around with ThinkFree Online Beta. These office suite applications work smoothly and well. I’ll be watching this tool as a viable alternative for educators and students to use, especially when they are working collaboratively.

Finally, I listened to the Marco Torres podcast that Wes Fryer had published. Again, I am inspired by the great teachers that share their passion with us. Marco makes authentic learning a reality in his classroom and beyond. He offers students an opportunity to think about themselves as valuable contributors to society.

Using the PD I learned this weekend will help me plan for better PD for educators. I’m learning from the conversation.

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