Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Alan's Final session

At the final session Alan spoke about important components of leadership for supporting technology integration. He stated that fear of losing control is a greater problem than the technology learning curve. When an adult is invited to do something new the first reaction ( at a brain response level) is fear.

A leader acknowledges and validates fear.
What are the fears and the hopes? Will technology take away social interaction and will students loose social skills or in does it allow for connections across the globe creating empathy…every fear has a correlating hope.

Remember it is not about technology…
It is about critical thinking and communication……

Alan suggests that as one starting point every elementary school should connect with a convalescent home…. Alan’s earlier quote about two culturally diverse schools who connected online also applies here….“We met them on the inside before we met them on the outside”.

Alan also suggests - Get started with podcasts
The place to start is Audacity = free software for audio recording
The teacher does not need to know how to do the recording they just need to know where the opportunity is to make a recording AND then use this as part of creating an audience even if you start with family and friends.

Students developmentally NEED an authentic audience….your school alone is NOT enough…..they need to engage in social discourse. This will provide results because whether it is a video presentation, a podcast or a blog students are more willing to accept criticism from and anonymous teacher rather than the teacher in the room.

Finally videos and video conferencing are other important tools
Video can be broken down one channel at a time to provide feedback….audio only visual only….

Finally with every thing you do there is a time quality balance…you have to decide…do not spend more time if the pay of in quality is not there….

With all this said and done Alan stresses the One requirement for everyone is that ……you will learn how the internet works and teach children how to learn in this media dominated environment. All educators should be users and doers on the internet. In our paper world we all know how to read and create…Today in the digital world we must teach the same literacy skills…how to read the internet and how to create….. critical thinking first and publishing second

An important part of these essential literacy skills is that we must teach students how to deal with the flow of information. An important resources Alan shared with regard to literacy Wayback Machine which allows you to see historical views of a site and compare how a website has changed over time.

In closing Alan asked….Are you teaching your children that money controls the internet? Can you imagine if you did not know the difference between an ad and an article in a magazine?
Then he showed us how key terms are up for sale at Overture

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