Monday, August 21, 2006

The story continues

The story continues…
Here is day two’s installment. LA Daily News - Citizen journalism makes debut.

This is history in the making," Daily News publisher Tracy Rafter said Sunday…The world is sort of watching this project. It is probably going to set the stage for journalism, for media, for communications," Rafter said. "We are happy to be setting the stage for the future."

I have already signed up and I am thinking of ways to make this a classroom reality. Students under 14 require parent permission.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Innovation for the LA Daily News- You are the Storyteller

Check this out! LA Daily News - You are the storyteller
This was front page story today in our local newspaper. If you check out the link you will see this is not a small newspaper because I live in the greater Los Angeles area. Talk about an opportunity for students and all of us to have a voice! Not to mention the business applications i.e. Change in the ways of gathering and reporting news. Who knows where this will lead and what other papers will follow suit.

As I am putting together my staff presentation I can’t think of any better example of how things are changing right in our own backyard. How much more urgent can it get that we teach information literacy and ethical and responsible use? How much greater an opportunity do we neded to begin to give students a voice and an audience?

This whole idea is brand new and will take some time to digest. In addition to the opportunity I think there is power in the link between print medium and web medium. The implications of this are not 100% clear but ….. I think it helps bridge the divide between digital immigrant and digital natives- that is to say that parents, teachers etc who are more comfortable with print media will see published work and recognize value in the online activity. I need to spend more time thinking about this but I did not want to delay posting this great news!

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Help me to Rip ,Remix and Learn

It is time now to synthesize what I have learned thus far. It is not an easy task but it is precisely the task in which we hope to engage our students. I have read 100’s of blogs. I have listened to and looked at many presentations on 21st century literacy, blogs, wikis, RSS, and Web 2.0 but it is time now to consider my audience and craft a message that conveys the big picture and challenges us to think and create our own meaning.

I am indebedt to all of you out there who have graciously posted your handouts, powerpoints, podcasts and links because I truly am in the process of rip, remix and learn.

A couple of things that I think are important at this stage:
As several of you have referenced Alan November’s point that it is about learning not technology. Coupled with that is the concept that for digital natives the technology is transparent ( I believe that comes from Will Richardson among others).

As educators, I believe that our primary goal in the 21st century should be information literacy. This means we are about much more than using technology… we are about teaching critical thinking and evaluation of information and then using that information to accomplish new things or solve problems or create new knowledge.

Please help me out here:
My problem –
I have a bloglines account , a de.licio.us account , a technorati account- but I can’t keep the information or perhaps more accurately the ideas organized. Therefore I am having trouble giving credit where credit is due.

For example: Someone wrote something to the effect..
Readiing and writing are about literacy
Web 2.0 is about reading and writing
Web 2.0 is about literacy

Because Bloglines only keeps me current and I did not clip this quote now I can’t find it.

This is a challenge I truly want to conquer so that I can help the students and staff with the same issue.

It is one thing to read and then comment right away…it is another to read and read and read and think and think and then decide this idea or that are important to your audience.
Please share with me some strategies to help …

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Examples from Today's newspaper- The world of our digital natives

I am back from vacation and now entering the stress full preparation for the opening of School Aug 29 ( teachers are back on the 20th). I am still in the process of synthesizing what I have learned this summer and finding a way to translate this into something the teachers can grab on to and run with….

This morning when I was reading the paper I was immediately struck by two more examples of how our students view of the world is different than their teachers. In the Buisiness section of the “Daily News” (Los Angeles) there is an article about the changes in TV viewing. What caught my attention was the following quote about Chris Anderson the editor of Wired magazine. ( Bold is mine)

“Chris Anderson’s children don’t know what a channel is. (He) uses computers to record TV shows the same way a TiVo does. His kids can search for their favorite shows..and when they see a show listing on the computer... the only way they know what channel it has ever been on is if they have little logos or signage superimposed on the show.”

Part of the point of the article is that TV schedules no longer matter. And so again we see how different the world of the digital native is … ( I suspect that the ubiquitous availability of programming may also play a role in our flat world)

The other morning article that caught my attention is an example of the half life of knowledge. How many planets are there in the solar system???? 9 this week and probably 12 next week (with an official ruling due). This has also caused a us to consider the definition of a planet. Hmmmm

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Time to Think

I leave for 8 days of camping tomorrow morning but when I return it is back to school and all the commotion around making sure everything is ready for the teachers, students and parents. The teachers come back on the 20 th and the students on the 29th.
My head is full of things to think about and I am still struggling with applying the new skills I have acquired. For those of you who like me need to bring others on board and try to provide them with a start in Web 2. 0 you may want to visit A History Teacher's blog. His experience gives insight into where we are and he also provides some great resources to help us move forward. I have a big in- service to plan but I am going to try to disconnect for a while and let everything simmer. To that end I just got the following information from the MIT newsletter…So this will be what I download and listen to in the car… The description sound so right. Once school starts it is hard to find thinking …time
The Ceaseless Society: What Happens to Our Mind, Body, and Spirit When we Just Never Stop?
Jon Kabat-Zinn shares insights about mindfulness, reflection, and stillness in this remarkable and inspiring presentation. Highly recommended for the busiest of busy people, especially those who feel they don't have the time to think.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Assesment an Important Question

In discussing assessment, David Muir writes about what could happen if blogging merely becomes an exercise.

My worry is that a teacher could arrive at the end of a Blog Unit in the pack, have a full set of ticks for every pupil, and assume that they have "done blogs". They could then move onto the next unit without ever going near blogs again. They may have ticked the boxes, but have they actually assessed learning? Perhaps not.”

He raises an important issue about our educational practices in general I have been thinking a lot about assessment and had already decided that along with our technology discussion it would be an important component of my Sept teacher in-services.

To that end I read Transforming Classroom Grading by Robert J Marzano. I believe he has some very important things to say about the question of how we evaluate students and assign grades. I do not have time at the moment to do a thorough review of his book but as I mentioned in my comment on David’s blog I believe that he has some very practical guides to help us tackle the issues of assessment.

Two key elements in his presentation are the careful evaluation of all assessments to determine exactly what knowledge and skill are being assessed and using rubrics to measure mastery rather than simply giving the average of all assignments as the grade. He believes any assessment (unless they are measuring only one thing) should be broken down by the specific knowledge or skill with separate "grades" for each area rather than a lumped into one test grade. He also has developed a great set of adaptable rubrics around the essentials of the curriculum which he identifies as: Information topics, Skill or process topics, and Thinking and Reasoning Skills. He also makes a case for grades as reflective of mastery levels rather than a simple average of all assignments. He argues that if we are deliberate about what we are assessing we should see growth with more practice. ( I know...Duh..but it is my simplistic explanation...because his work is incredibly carefully done)This is only the briefest of summaries and does not do justice to the well developed concept in the book.

I confess I do not fully know how to move forward with this…But I am hoping that others of you will have read this book and that together we can discover its implications.

On another note I am off to go coming this Sunday so I will not be posting from the 6th to the 14th …I will be back though refreshed and ready to go.

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