Friday, November 16, 2007

Learning at the Speed of Change

This week I showed a colleague some work Irecently did on Gliffy with another colleague. "Why didn't you use Inspiration?" she said. I explained that we were collaborating, working from home and school, and that using Gliffy made more sense.

We took what we did in Gliffy and created a Google Doc. "Why didn't you use Moodle or a Wiki?" I explained that in this situation I thought a Google Doc made more sense. The coordinator exclaimed,"We purchase software, train our teachers how to use it (no easy task) and now all these new apps are coming out."

She's absolutely right. But if we think we are seeing change now what will the future (web 3.0, 4.0, etc.) bring? Our students and teachers must learn to thrive in this world. Our job is to think of the best way to make this happen. As new tools continue to be released that make working from multiple places and collaborating easier for our students and teachers, let's think about which tool is best for each situation.

Monday, October 22, 2007

All Aboard

How do you make learning about maps fun? Last week I observed a class in our Lower School in which a Promethean board enhanced a 1st grade teacher's work with her students as the students learned about maps.

Using the board the teacher taught an interactive lesson. Her use of the board was right on target for teaching maps. She had one and sometimes two students at a time at the board, using the software that came with the package. To further enhance the lesson she effectively integrated Rand McNally maps and Google Earth.

The students clearly understood why we use maps. They interacted with a map of their classroom, indicated where they sat, and enjoyed seeing a satellite picture of the school.

The Board of Trustees was visiting this class with me, and all were amazed at how 1st grade students naturally knew what a satellite picture was without being taught. By first grade that knowledge is common.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Great Work in Moodle

While I was walking down the hall today I was invited in to take part in an AP English class discussion about Moodle. I learned that the class had just had profound discussions in Moodle about the book they were reading. The entire class and the teacher were ecstatic about the level of the discussions in Moodle. This afternoon I enrolled in the Moodle class and read the discussions. They are indeed profound. The operative question is why has this class been so much more successful than others I've seen? What is so different about this class? Many of these students have Moodled previously but they said this experience was better. Far better. And don't get me wrong; the other work I have seen in Moodle has been good.

What I learned from the students was that they feel much more relaxed working in Moodle in this teacher's class. They mentioned that their other experiences were "too formal". Because the students were too worried about what they were writing, they did not write as much. The lesson to be learned from this is that our students learn more, produce more, produce better work, and engage more when they are relaxed. Don't all of us?

Monday, October 1, 2007

Getting Started

Let's use this space to explore the exciting things that are happening at school including: Promethean Boards, Social Networks, Blogging, multi-media, etc. When I say "explore" I really mean we should:
- celebrate successes,
- address common questions
- deal with issues, etc.
- etc.