New bloggers and 5 days to China

Can’t believe it’s been 10 days since I posted a blog entry. It’s been good though…spent 3 days in San Diego visiting my sister-in-law and time with family and friends over the other days has made it worth being disconnected.

The time I have been online has been focused on the graduate course I’m teaching for Plymouth State University.

The students have all set up blogs now, I thought I’d take this opportunity to introduce the blogosphere to six new bloggers (Michael…you can’t call yourself new 🙂 )

Here is some of the thinking they have been doing the past couple weeks.

Exposing students to the unlimited options that technology and networking has to offer is crucial for their development as a person and learner and that means that I have to make sure to continue to be well informed about the new ways of learning and communicating with technology.

So there’s all this knowledge available, all these resources, and all the arguments / rationalizations / legitimizations regarding teaching and the web tools available make perfect sense. The problem of course is creating relevancy for our students.

Do you think that libraries at higher levels have changed more to incorporate new areas of technology? We still seem to be compartmentalized in many ways. Art happens in art class. Technology happens in the lab. Books happen in the library. There have been changes. The computer lab can come in to the classroom. In our school’s model, the technology teacher is a collaborative partner with the teacher. Together we work on projects. It is very far from a “drop off” special. It is funny how slow schools, and teachers, can be in accepting new ideas.

I am intrigued by Magner’s take on the way we need to look for a new model to fund education. He explains that we have funded specific programs but for success in the 21st century, we need to look across programs, schools and districts to meet educational goals. His analogy is the 19th and 20th century location dependent factory model versus the 21st century global interconnectedness where anyone can publish from anywhere.

Last week I read chapter 3 & 4 of his book. Chapter four was all about Wiki’s. I must say that I am still a little skeptical of the information on Wiki’s. If you are looking at information that you are unfamiliar with, who’s version is correct.

Technology is changing rapidly and the way we prepare our students for
the future must change as well. School 2.0 will help schools prepare
for those changes by pulling together all parties to determine what
students need in order enter the workforce when they graduate. The
greatest challenge in preparing our students for the future is that we
don’t know what that future will look like. Karl Fisch has made a video that makes this point very clear. All educators should take a look at this video.

Knowledge is based on how well we can relate new information to prior experiences and information.  When we encounter new information it is about the connections we make and how we sync that information based on our knowledge.  The stronger the connections we have to those prior experiences and information the stronger the change the information will stick and turn into knowledge.

We’re three weeks into class and I’m loving the conversation that’s emerging. I have set all the students up with Skype so that once I return to China (Tuesday) they can still contact me if they need help. For most it was their first experience with Skype and blogs. The wiki we’re using for the class seems to be coming together as the students continue to view, add comments and use it as a launching point into this new learning environment.

Tonight we also launched our collaborative project with Dean Shareski’s undergrads. We used Elluminate and hopefully in the next couple of weeks our students will create some wiki projects that will exposed them to the process of creating collaborative web projects. My hope is that they will learn the process from the student’s view so that when they return to their classrooms later this year they will understand how and what students will see and feel on their end… should be interesting.

Once I hit China on Wednesday of next week I should be back online in my usual 12-14 hours a day fashion. Until then it’s family and the class getting my attention.


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