Monday, June 04, 2007

A Red Letter Day : Today we jumped in with both feet and the water is great!


This school year is winding down but not our brave, tenacious, digital immigrant teachers! Remembering that in August our computers had two inches of dust on them, no one had used an LCD projector and blogs and wikis were a foreign language...Today we celebrate a true red letter day....

11 to 12 year old students, after a full day of classes went home, put on their full dress uniforms (includes ties for the boys) and came back to school at 5:30 to go back to class. What you asked could motivate these students to do this....their teacher of course! How you ask? With the promise of an opportunity to do something they had never done before... make a video phone call using skype to have a real time conversation with students in China. ( Special thanks to Jeff who helped make this happen even though he only has two days left in his school year!)

The kids were unsure what to expect and even a little shy as we gathered this afternoon, but once the connection was made and the other class appeared before us everybody was captivated. After the introductions the kids took turns asking questions and we all chatted for about 30 minutes! By the end of the conversation the students had a new interest in China and might even go there someday. Suddenly the study of China was real...not just some strange place in a history book...it was a real place with a school and students and through the miracle of the Internet it seemed to be just around the corner! They got a first hand account of Chinese New Year, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City and they have deepened their understanding of what they had learned. Today I can say without any hesitation that our students are moving toward a deeper understanding of our global community and our connectedness! As we discuss this experience in class ( and with our extended community) we hope it will help us construct a deeper and more robust idea of what it means to be learners in the 21st century!

At this time of year when we are making plans for next year and reflecting on this year it is my goal to assure that we end the year celebrating our accomplishments and in full stride so that we hit the ground running in the Fall. Today's experience was one giant step; students, parents and teachers were all actively involved in a whole new way of learning and in the end it was really so simple, so easy...

This post would not be complete without a special thanks to all the support we have received this year. Thank you to Don Kenzek and ISTE for getting us started with the ISTE Institute. Thank you to all of the educational bloggers who have provided ideas and inspiration. Thank you to all the members of our school community who have embraced change and sincerely are seeking ways to meet the needs of 21st century learners!
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4 comments:

Clarence said...

Wow. Absolutely wow. What an amazing year you've had.You have learned so much and accomplished so much. You are the poster child of change this school year. Congratulations to you and all of your staff on this close-to-end-of-year project. You ahve hsown your students the possibilities.

Jeff said...

Thank you so much for allowing us to be apart of this. I couldn't help but laugh as students on both sides of the camera sat there in "AH" just looking at each other. I'm glad everything worked out and look forward to more connections in the future.

P.S. I'm holding your students to the fact that the weather will be nice when I land there on Sunday! ;)

Karl Fisch said...

What a great way to end the year - and get excited for next year! Congratulations on all you've accomplilshed this year.

Abhishek Krishnan said...

Hi, your blog seems to be really nice!! Are you interested in exchanging links? My blog is at http://changingtechnology.blogspot.com/ and it’s about the latest gadgets and the technology used. Do let me know if you are interested. I too will put up a link to your blog on mine. Thanks.