Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Blogging: Reinventing Teaching and Learning in the Information Age - Susim Munshi and Susan Switzer

According to Helen Keller, “It is a terrible thing to see and have no vision.” If Helen Keller was around today, she would not have struggled as hard to be as successful as she was. To achieve the full potential for technology in education we need to change the lens that will look through – we need to be less critical and use more praise. The new fabric of life that challenges our traditions in education and many teachers feel threatened with it as education has spent the last 100 years “perfecting” the fabric of education. Jon Madonna said, “Nothing stops an organization faster than people who believe that the way you worked yesterday is the best way to work tomorrow.” (Sounds a little like Good to Great.)

The institutional visions tend to be tunnel (my space – community, school), silo (my silo – not anyone else's) or vertical (hierarchy. This type of vision limits the possibilities with technology. There is a lot of talk about the Internet 2.0 – if this is the future of the internet, we need to create Schools 2.0 that have teachers who guide the students to use the technology that is evident in every day life and prepare them for an unknown future.

According to Alan November, “Blogging is the single most transformative tool.” The control of learning is shifting to more student control, there is more noise, movement, new assessments, and available constantly. The current decision making tools that students are currently using include myspace, AOL messenger and other chat programs. We must be teaching students to teach themselves, as the jobs they will fulfill may not even exist in our current world.

Ms. Switzer then highlighted some examples of weblogs that are available through their own website:

Mr. Munshi encouraged the audience to go to the website to share and use any of the resources available. He also highlighted the Goochland Public schools that require the teachers to blog. He references Alan November's presentation to administrator that asked if the administrators wanted their teachers to use technology (especially wikis and blogs) the administrators MUST also use these technologies.

The handouts for the session was unique – to required the audience to input information and reflect on the information. See Bob Pike from The Bob Pike Group on giving better presentations:

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