martes, 2 de septiembre de 2008


I think I remember it correctly. I overheard Helen Barrett offer that conferences were her favorite way to learn. I paused for a moment; we were both attending NCTE's 21st Century Literacy Institute. I have earlier confessed I have attended my share of conferences, and I consider myself very fortunate. I know there are tens of thousands of teachers who don't share my experience -- lack of resources, lack of invitation, lack of time are likely just a few barriers.

So, what is to be done? Well, increasingly folks have chosen to create parallel experiences of conferences, invite folks to follow along with streams, but is that enough? One interesting version may be EduCon.

Are the tools sufficient to guide a participant through the materials? Check out this Will Richardson post on the ultimate attendee.

What are the essentials of a conference experience that make it valuable? I would argue it is different for different folks and at different times in their career.

I take copious notes every time I attend a conference and try to share as much as I can as fast as I can once I return home.

lunes, 25 de agosto de 2008

Creativity of Limitations

I am inspired by the work Darren Kurapatwa shared at the Building Learning Communities Conference this summer, and then I checked out Lucy Gray's list of twitter suggestions. Both mobile phone and twitter formats constrain communication/ideas to a limited number of words/characters. How can this limitation free educators/learners? I am thinking about all the talk of short cycle assessments and checking student progress. Is it possible to use bits to generate authentic questions and learning?

My experience with John Davitt, again at BLC, suggests it might. My group was tasked with creating a 30 second audio clip sharing everything we knew about the brain in 15 minutes. This assignment came from his learning event generator (see image).

I can share that everyone in our group of 6 learned something new about the brain, generated questions about the brain and sparked folks to share books and other resources.

Networks of Expertise

A friend paid me the high complement of including me in his extended network of expertise. This is a fascinating idea for me as an educator and learner.

My graduate studies taught me about "lines" of research and theory -- connecting one idea to the next to build an argument. I also readily dispel the myth that folks who work in technology have all the answers -- they just have a great network of friends who kindly answer their questions.

How do make these ideas accessible and more transparent to everyone in the community of learners? What is the shape/format/structure that is most useful and efficient?

One example of sorts is Steve Hardagan's Classroom2dot0. This structure is based around a ning. I wonder how we better integrate this ideas? How can other folks looking for good elementary blogging ideas find this spot?

Travel and Learning

As an avid and passionate traveler and learner, I am fascinated by the lessons learned from traveling. For me it's both the preparations (research before and during) and stopping to think along the journey -- collecting artifacts, photos, stories.

How can this "structure" be implemented in the context of more traditional learning? Or as the Global Awareness group imagined, how can you help students learn about the world when they don't have the opportunity to travel?

Harvesting ideas and coherence from blogs

As a regular reader of a number of websites I am curious about how best to establish a thread, or harvest ideas from a blog. There are a couple of "structural" options, categories, tags, but I'm curious how would a reader begin to characterize a set of ideas, questions or a thread from a blog. Maybe it's through an author's periodic presentations?

Women and blogging

A few years ago I sat among a very large audience at NECC (National Educational Computing Conference), listening to a panel of bloggers. The question was raised, "Why don't more women blog?" An interesting question, both in terms of educational technology bloggers and bloggers in general. I am one of those who has watched, read, occasionally commented but been very slow to jump into the fray. One of my favorite blogs to read and ponder is A Reading Year. I love to share this blog because it has a very conversational tone. It reflects the author's genuine passion for books, reading, words and the world of literacy. I appreciate the collaborative nature of the two authors. For me it illustrates the power of technology to enable teachers/learners to connect and engage in meaningful work that would be more difficult and more hidden from view without the technology.

There are other groups of writers/bloggers who share regular conversations and other blogs, such as Infinite Thinking Machine that feature multiple authors.

My struggle will be to find my place in the blogosphere. I like Will Richardson's take that he is a learner in chief.

I thank everyone who jumped on board ahead of me and all my friends who will be patient with me as I make my way.

Not for Profit

Learning can and does happen everywhere. I am particularly interested in learning how non-profit structures, attitudes, goals have to teach us about making change happen in education. For me the age of NCLB also brought to the focus more sharply the economics of public education and those around it who are driven by "market" forces.

Given that many educators are less personally driven by "market" forces, how can lessons learned outside of school teach us about making opportunities happen for children/learners both inside and outside of school?