The All-New School

SOON, EVERYTHING WILL START TO CLICK. There’s a reason the new school clicks with so many people. It’s supposed to. Throughout the school, you’ll notice an uncanny familiarity to your life beyond the walls. Consider, if you will, the new classroom that comes standard. It’s engineered with more than students in mind. The push-button world has been taken into account. The multi-tasking tendencies of modern society have been duly noted. The result is a classroom that doubles as a remote control for the rest of the education system. And that means instant access to everything from 3D maps to over 700 voice-activated information sources. Every resource is selected in anticipation of your every need within the school. And every one of them is arranged precisely in relation to your needs within the class. Which means greater accessibility. More flexibility. And independent control without leaving a classroom. It may become your next essential modern learning device. That’s the goal, really. To deliver the kind of school that becomes indispensable. Quintessential. Absolute. Human. The all-new school. More spacious, more luxurious, more complete and unique, from those who know it best. Teachers. Adapted from: Honda Inc., (2007, November). The All-New Accord From Honda. Men’s Health, 10-11. Two different ads I created with credit to photo author and Honda ad.Click to see them full size on Flickr. The All-New School [tags]school2.0[/tags] Technorati Tags: school2.0, new-school, Honda,...

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Pedagogy defines School 2.0 (revisited)

I was reading Will’s post today It’s Not Just the “Read/Write” Web and then thanks to twitter John Pederson’s post on Networks (I think that’s what it’s on anyway). As I read I started thinking about a post I did back in January on defining School 2.0. Not sure if it’s OK to quote yourself but back then I wrote: School 2.0 although driven to change by the advancement of technology is not about technology, it’s about the advancement of society, of our culture as a world. Technology played a large part, but it is society that has changed. Everything from out-sourcing work to Asia, to the built in GPS in your car, to the phone/pda/web/music/video/picture iphone. Society has changed that’s why a new school is needed. If you think schools need to change because of technology…I’d argue you have it wrong. Schools need to change because our society has changed. And I still believe this is true. What is School 2.0? It’s the new network world we live in. In the past couple of year I have started looking at everything differently. Is it just me or do you go around noticing all the ways our society relays on networks? Today I went to the dentist where they took my picture because they are going  “Chartless.” Why? Because if all the information is in the computer they can easily access it from any room in the office. I go to room one and by the time I sit in the chair my chart is on the computer screen. The hygienist has a complete history of my visits, with pictures of my teeth and all the information she needs to do her job. The dentists in our area are also all forming a network to easily transfer and share files of patients. So now if I needed braces they would send the complete file electronically. Or what about last week when my wife was looking for a new pair of shoes. The store didn’t have them in her size but the lady helping us scanned the shoe and then looked at the inventory of 5 other stores within our area to see if they had the right size. With a couple clicks the nice lady tells my wife that the shoes will be in the store in two days. Will writes: But here’s the thing that’s been sticking with...

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We're getting there!

Tonight I’m sitting here shaking my head at all the amazing things that teachers are doing this year and how we are changing the way we use technology. Teachers continue to find great ways to incorperate these new tools. Here is a look at some of the great things happening as my school. First let’s start with my 7th Graders who today finished their Digital Stories. The assignment: Create a 1 minute message that informs or teaches people how to be safe on the Internet. We have a school youtube account (that’s right most schools are blocking Youtube and we have a school wide account to share our videos at!) So after you watch the video below head on over to http://www.youtube.com/user/saschool and check out the other 20 videos that have been uploaded so far. Then after you’ve done that you might want to head over to our 5th grade blogs. Check out Mrs. Power’s blog and read some of the 5th grade blogs she has listed under her Blogroll. Tomorrow another class of 5th graders will upload their first podcasts to their blogs: Some poems they’ve remixed..so be looking for those as well. And then what every Principal should be required to do. Today I had meetings all day and couldn’t create our weekly podcast with the 5th graders. So I asked my Principal Andy Torris if he would help out, handed him my iPod with the Belkin TuneTalk Stereo attached and told him to go on a walk about. How cool is this podcast and why aren’t more principals doing this as a way to communicate with their community? To think that a year and a half ago when I came here non of this was going on. That technology was not getting out side the labs and that the 45 minutes elementary kids had once a week was basically technology. From that to a school that is bursting with excitement and teachers who are looking, asking, and hungry for ways to incorporate these tools into their teaching and learning, engaging students in fun ways within the learning process. As I said three times today…it’s not about technology…we’re talking learning! Enjoy! [tags]School2.0, SAS[/tags] Technorati Tags: sas, andytorris, jeffutecht, digitalstories,...

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Power to the students

If you really want to see students squirm in their seats…give them choices. Yesterday I was approached by two teachers who wanted help coming up with ways to incorporate technology into some upcoming lessons. Both of them wanted to “do something different”. Which is a good sign, and shows that our Tech Fest has sparked some interest. After listening to both teachers explain their projects and what they were looking for I simply said: “Let the students choose!” To often I think we try to put things neatly into containers. A lesson (as we were taught in educator school) must have a clearly defined beginning, middle and end, when really all a lesson needs is a clear focus. As Brian Crosby would say Learning is Messy and you gotta allow students to get messy with it if you want to see something new and different. Both teachers are planning big projects where they want students to produce something at the end of the unit. Both wanted to know what I would suggest students produce. A PowerPoint? A movie? A digital story? Both wanted to know what was out there that they were missing. Why not allow the students to choose, allow them to find for themselves the best avenue to represent their learning. Allow students to get messy with the project. Some might decide to create a moive, others might decide a PowerPoint is the best approach, and yet others might create a podcast that is a radio show. Allowing students to choose gives them power over the content and the method of conveying their learning. As the teacher becomes the guide, you create the rubric that demonstrates what you want students to learn based off of district standards, but allow the students to decide what that learning looks like to them.I will tell you most students do not like this, they do not like having the choice to decide what to do. We have conditioned them to do what we tell them. I used this exact approach last semester and got more whining out of my students then on any project. “Just tell us what to do Mr. U!” was what they kept saying. We have truly educated the creative side right out of our students. They don’t want to have to think about it, they just want to fulfill the requirement that is being asked of them...

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Changing Reading Habits

David Jakes took the recent talk around School 2.0 and did a nice mash-up on the techlearning blog. So here is my attempt at characterizing School 2.0, driven by ideas from David, Will, Clarence and Jeff: Unlearning. Relearning. The desire and climate to do both, by all members of the school community in a constant and never-ending self-adjustment dance. Fluid. Moving in a purposeful and positive direction, and with a velocity-never standing still, always in perpetual beta, adapting, with information, conversation, ideas, creativity and contagious energy being delivered via digital tools and networks, all driving the learning experience forward to prepare kids for their world. Now to me and probably most in the blogosphere this sounds pretty cool. But there is a lot in here that I think the average teacher would look at and go “Uh?” How do we learn to be adaptable? How do we adapt education to ‘fit’ (for lack of a better word) into a new model? Mark Ahlness had a great reflective post on Friday on how he is adapting his classroom to meet the needs of his students, his student’s reading habits, and at the same time expanding their knowledge. I’d been thinking lately how my own reading habits had changed in the last couple of years, with the huge increase in blogs, online news, and so on. When was the last time I actually sat down and read a book? The last time I flew back east to see my family. Yikes! I used to feel guilty about this until I took a closer look at the net of my reading. I read so MUCH more now than I ever used to. But it’s a different kind of reading. Teachers tease me a lot and ask, “When was the last time you read a book?” I, like Mark, usually have to ponder, and like Mark find it’s usually a time when I’m disconnected. They usually look at me and laugh and tell me I need to read more books. Why? Before blogging and RSS I hardly read anything outside of a couple of educational magazines. A book? I never read them before the web why would I read them now? Long time readers to this blog know I struggle with reading (and writing) but the Read/Write web engages me in the process…and this post is a perfect example. I read, left comments,...

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