From Susan Vaughan, this YouTube about fair use and copyright.
From Susan Vaughan, this YouTube about fair use and copyright.
Saturday at noon!
This Saturday, May 15th, Kim Caise, Lorna Costantini and Peggy George will be hosting another Classroom 2.0 LIVE show. As an extension to the Classroom 2.0 Ning community, Classroom 2.0 “LIVE” shows are opportunities to gather with other educators in real-time events, complete with audio, chat and desktop sharing. A Google calendar of upcoming shows is available online.
Today the i3 grants are due to the U. S. Dept. of Education. Our writing across the curriculum grant has been submitted, and I look forward to submitting the math grant later today.
I am also looking forward to clearing off my desktop of too many files! SOL training is on the docket for tomorrow, and at some point later this month I’ll be working with Peter Martin to migrate some of our web services to a different server.
Meanwhile, I’m happy to say we’re meeting this afternoon to look at our technology plan and some of the results from our survey. We’ve had a great student turn-out for the survey, and sometimes surveys tell you some interesting things. For instance, students are interested in using cell phones in school. They like technology, but not always in all the ways we might expect.
Students are also honest. They tell us while they know technology, they’re not all experts at it. We’re also looking today at survey results from parents, teachers, and administrators.
I brought in my personal iPad yesterday to read from at Randolph Elementary. One student came up to me after my reading, and keep in mind, I wasn’t showing off the technology. I was simply reading from the iPad like you’d read from a paper book. He said, “Mr. Hendron? Can I ask you a question?” I said, “Sure…” I was 99% sure he was going to ask me about the passage I just read. Instead, he asked me this: “What’s your favorite app on your iPad?”
In another group, two boys came up to me and asked why we couldn’t sell our iMacs and buy twice as many iPads. This reminded me why it’s so important to include student voices in the decisions we make in schools. Their imagination, their creativity, and their insight is key to making learning both fun and relevant. No, we won’t be selling our iMacs for iPads, but I appreciate that students are willing and waiting to adopt the latest innovations into their lives.
My own personal welcome goes out to the Region 1 Superintendent’s Study Group on 21st Century Skills. Their May meeting is being hosted in Goochland (today), on Friday, May 7, 2010.
While I’ve prepared a wiki page with a lot of links for them, I thought I’d pen a few thoughts about 21st century skills here, and why I’ve bought into them.
There is a lot of criticism that’s now come about around the terminology “21st century skills,” what they mean for education, and frankly, what good teaching is about.
I’m not in disagreement with some of the points educators and their most outspoken critics make. First, these skills are not going to “save” education any more than bandwagons of the past have been able to do so. But they are an evolutionary step away from one type of thinking towards another, and this is a small but positive step.
Teachers often look at technology and knowing that, since it’s been purchased and put into the hands of students, it ought to be used…? well, yes, someone, somewhere in your school or district saw an advantage for that computer, laptop, or handheld to be there. But simply putting gadgetry in the hands of students isn’t the point at which we stop and pat ourselves on the back.
Twenty-first century skills for us have taken the emphasis away from the tools themselves. Instead, the focus in on a number of prescribed skills that are open enough to be exercised in a variety of ways, shaped by the expertise of each educator/practitioner, in one or more disciplines, towards the goal of engaging the student in a meaningful learning experience. Within the context of today’s schools, today’s budgets, and today’s state of the world, this isn’t such a bad thing.
The tools I’m showing you today have been used in schools, but I don’t want you to walk away today thinking Goochland kids all use Twitter, they all spin the globe digitally each day on each one of our Promethean boards, or that we only use open software tools. I’m sharing trends that go beyond schools, because they illustrate how I think learning will likely be transformed in the short term in our schools, if we take advantage of these new tools. Our charge, on the national, state, and district level–and in this case the regional level–is to evaluate not only the tools but the ideas behind some of these tools. We make them available, we educate teachers how these tools can be a part of their emerging educational toolkit, and how we need to prepare students to personally succeed when access to these tools becomes available. In short, the job is taking the tools, adapting them, and showing folks–when it clicks–that these tools we’ve found are the best at promoting twenty-first century skills. (If they aren’t the best, then either it’s the best you can afford; otherwise, don’t change!) The tools in 5 or 10 years won’t matter, of course. In the long term, it’s showing kids the way towards:
To learn more about our efforts, visit our G21 page.
I thought I would just fill folks in on some projects I’ve been working on lately. Not fun yet, but there’s certainly potential.
The federal government will be spending $650M in October on “Innovation” grants, and Goochland County Schools will be involved in two of these. The first is called Scribo Digita: Innovating Instruction Across the Curriculum through Writing. This grant will be focused on professional development with a writing across the curriculum model for grades 6-11. As part of this project, we’d be using MyAccess if we get the grant.
The second grant is called JabrDigitAL (Al-jabr is the origin of the word algebra!) and is focused on increasing student achievement in mathematics. The treatment involved would include Dimension-M’s innovative math gaming software for students at GMS and GHS.
Both of these grants take a lot of work from all involved, as we are not applying alone, but in concert with a number of area school divisions, including Hanover, Henrico, Chesterfield, and Hopewell. I look forward to sharing more as the process completes and we hopefully are awarded the grants!