Thursday, April 21, 2011

A Cross Post with 6AM Thoughts

This is the opening paragraph of an article, The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking, Simulations and How Teachers Can Leverage Them, I discovered from a Tweet this morning. I have been an advocate of simulation gaming for 30 years and am particularly happy to see work like this being done. I hope you will take the time to read the entire article which I have included the link for. The article was written by Eric Klopfer, Scot Osterweil, Jennifer Groff, and Jason Haas from MIT.

What is good learning? That may be a subjective question. But it’s likely that many educators would give answers that fall in the same ballpark…
…students collaborating and discussing ideas, possible solutions…
…project-based learning, designed around real world contexts…
…connecting with other students around the world, on topics of study…
…immersing students in a learning experience that allows them to grapple with a problem,
gaining higher-order thinking skills from pursuing the solution…

To many educators, these notions are music to their ears. Would it seem terribly strange then to hear that students indeed are doing these things regularly outside of their classrooms? While Timmy or Susie may not be running home from school saying, “What fun, deeply-engaging learning experience can we do today?”, they are engagingwith new technologies that provide them with the same opportunities. Every day, many students are spending countless hours immersed in popular technologies—such as Facebook or MySpace, World of Warcraft,or Sim City—which at first glance may seem like a waste of time, and brain cells. But these genres of technologies—Social Networking, Digital Gaming, and Simulations—deserve a second, deeper, look at what’s actually going on.
The Instructional Power of Digital Games, Social Networking, Simulations and How Teachers Can Leverage Them

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Do Not Tilt Your Head.......

Cross posted from 6AM Thoughts.

I regularly read a blog called TeachPaperless. Yesterday, there was a post in Teachpaperless entitled "I Don't Want More Professional Development. It began:
We don't need more "professional" development. We need social development. Or at least we need to recognize it and recognize that the ultimate outcomes we often desire from the best of professional development are actually an outcome of social development. We need a development of human capacity, not an adherence to the rules of our established profession. We need to build our relationships for the purpose of furthering our humanity, not furthering our careers

Reading that entry caused me to write a comment on Teachpaperless which I have revised into the blog entry below. Enjoy.

I am not sure how many of the readers here have ever been on Second Life. If you have, you may have noticed what your avatar does when you log off...the avatars body goes limp and their head dips to the right and their chin rests on their shoulder.

Well so many teachers seem to be in a Teacher Second Life while reading this blog. When we leave here and go to school our personas do exactly what a second life avatar does---we go limp and turn our heads away from the reality around us.

And the reason we do it, we are afraid of losing our jobs. And it is a founded fear. If you do not go to sleep and say the same things in faculty meetings, professional development or training sessions, in the faculty room, in meetings with principal, or out on the playground or in the lunch room, that you espouse here, you very well may get fired. School is about control. This blog is about liberation! We all talk liberation but are we willing to walk liberation?

Every revolution has it casualties. If you really want a revolution it may be you. It has been me.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

An Open Educator Manifesto

This is a reprint from David Truss's Connected Principals Blog.

[Version I: Just the Manifesto]

My Open Educator Manifesto
‘We’ educate future citizens of the world
Teaching is my professional practice
I Share by default
I am Open, Transparent, Collaborative, and Social
My students own their own: (Learning)
• learning process
• learning environment
• learning products
• learning assessment
My students belong to learning networks
Every student deserves customized learning
• Student voice
• Student choice
Every educator deserves customized learning
I have high expectations
I Care, Share, and Dare
I am a role model
I am the change I want to see in Education!

Saturday, April 02, 2011

How do I affect this........

The top 1 percent have the best houses, the best educations, the best doctors, and the best lifestyles, but there is one thing that money doesn’t seem to have bought: an understanding that their fate is bound up with how the other 99 percent live. Throughout history, this is something that the top 1 percent eventually do learn. Too late. -Joseph Stiglitz Vanity Fair