12 Oct, 2009
Monday Morning Roundup (10/12/09)
Here are just a few of the articles I found interesting over the past several weeks:
Middle school students at a school in Connecticut had an idea in the fall of 2008 to interview all the local Mayoral candidates and post the interviews as podcasts. They have since expanded their podcast to interview a wide variety of leaders during their lunch period. Some of the people they’ve interviewed include: the CEO of a local hospital, the dean of the Yale University School of Nursing, the founder of Edublogs, the web editor for Popular Mechanics Magazine, and many more.
Welcome to the greatest middle school podcast in the world! We interview leaders from around the world on their opinions about what students should do to be prepared for the future.
We are called the Lunch Time Leaders because we actually interview all of the leaders during our lunch period which means that we have to start and finish within twenty minutes. Most of our interviews are done using skype and broadcast live on our wiki. We have have live video and a live blog on the page. Many of the questions asked are sent in from viewers around the United States. If we are lucky with scheduling and laptop availability, we sometimes do the interview with classmates contributing to the live blog.
This is a terrific example of what can be accomplished with very little money, using mostly free tools. The students are engaged and are learning more than what can be learned from a book.
Dennis Grice, a technology instructor at St. John’s Lutheran School, was looking for a way for his students to contribute placemarks to a Google Map. This post describes his solution in detail, including a link to a sample form he created and ideas for classroom application.
Students can participate in this type of collaborative map by…
- Mapping Birthplaces. It could be their own, or someone else’s. Our 5th grade is working on immigrant reports right now. This would be a fun way to share their information.
- Historical Places. Students could work together on a class project locating and posting information about historical places around their state or country.
- What’s The Weather Today? Classes from several different schools could pick a day and share the weather. They could even embed a picture of what it looks like outside.
- Breakfast Around the World. The form could be shared with as many people as possible to find out what people around the world eat for breakfast. Hmmmm. This idea sounds familiar.
Using spaghetti sauce as an analogy for the charter school debate.
Say you set out to improve your mother’s beloved spaghetti sauce recipe (treading on even more sacred ground than public education!) You try ten different variations. Despite your best efforts, three are worse than the original. Five are no better, but two are markedly superior. On average, the new batches are a little worse than your mom’s. But—would you say your experiment was a failure, or a success?
A fantastic post imploring teachers who are using social technology to expand their PLN to reach out and teach those who aren’t.
So here’s what I’m calling on my fellow PLN members and ed school teachers to do: find three young teachers in your building, in your ed school, or through your PLN. Mentor those teachers. Teach them WHY they should build a PLN. Teach them what it means to participate as a professional. Don’t worry about teaching them every little gimmick and gadget that comes down the pike; just teach them what it means to be part of a network, what it means to be connected, how to use a PLN to grow professionally as a teacher.
Furthermore, contact your local ed schools. Contact your alma mater. Tell those schools that as a teaching professional, you demand they include mandatory courses teaching and modeling the integration of social technology into classroom instruction; tell them that facility with social media should be a qualification for earning a degree.
A look at what one teacher learned from her PLN in one particular week. It’s a snapshot of her week, but is a great illustration of the power of social technology.
This week was about motivation–both mine and my students’. It started with an #edchat conversation on Twitter about the value of homework. Alfie Kohn (a man decidedly against homework!) shared an article from the journal Theory and Research in Education about self-determination theory as regards motivation. While the article was interesting enough, what really got me excited was discovering that ALL of the articles from the “Symposium on self-determination theory” were available for free download. I particularly enjoyed “Virtual worlds and the learner hero: how today’s video games can inform tomorrow’s learning environments.” In terms of motivation (at least from the self-determination point of view), the qualities that cause engagement in games–relatedness, autonomy and competence–can also create engagement in learning.
Read the rest of the post to learn what #edchat is all about, and what else Barbara learned that week.
This article is from earlier this summer, but still worth a read. The article talks about how the character of headmaster Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books might just be the greatest academic administrator of all time.
Dumbledore also does the one thing the faculty members value perhaps even more than administrative support: He leaves them alone and allows them to do their jobs. In other words, to use the modern term, he’s not a micromanager. In fact, for long passages he disappears from the narrative altogether, while Professors Snape, McGonagall, Sprout, Flitwick, et al., carry on, essentially unsupervised, with the important business of teaching students.
For an administrator, resisting the urge to meddle requires a great deal of confidence, not only in one’s colleagues but in one’s own judgment. It’s also the hallmark of great administrators everywhere, who hire the best people they can, put them in positions to be successful, and then get out of their way. Note that, during those times when Dumbledore is rarely seen in the narrative, the school still manages to function just fine, barring occasional attacks by three-headed dogs, giant snakes, or assorted other horrific monsters.
Who/What I’m Following on Twitter
- Monday Morning Roundup (7/19/2010)
- Monday Morning Roundup (8/24/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (10/19/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (9/14/09)
- Monday Morning Roundup (08/17/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (8/31/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (08/10/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (07/27/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (06/01/2009)
- Monday Morning Roundup (5/3/2010)