Continually inspired

21 01 2010

Unlike most nights where for the last twenty minutes or so before I go to bed I allow my mind to go to gush as a check my email, facebook and wedding blogs for one last time – last night I instead spent my time blog-surfing and learning (this, of course, stretched my twenty minute ritual into two hours of learning) – my tired brain didn’t even have a chance to turn to gush. And in this time that I spent searching and learning, I came across several different new and exciting teaching blogs; the most exciting being the blog Fifty-Nine Minutes – written  and maintained by English teacher, media and technology specialist, and ongoing learner, Randon Ruggles. The blog, which he started during his first semester student teaching as a tool to record his personal reflection and growth as an education, has gained a great deal of attention since his first post in December of 2008. Although I could write a great deal about each one of his posts and how they’ve inspired me (from the ones I have read so far), for now I will just mention that the most inspiring post I found, for me personally, was Partnering, Sharing, and Hamlet. This post discussed the amazing collaborate sharing and working processes that can occur between teachers and students, and between teachers and teachers in the classroom. I really love the last quote in Randon’s post, which he borrowed from a fellow teacher and writer, Marc Prensky: “…when we share, we truly are halfway there. Halfway there to creating powerful, engaging, content-driven, and amazing lessons in which partnering can thrive – both for the instructors and the students.”

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Scott McLeod, Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Educational Administration program at Iowa State University, posted the youtube video below to his blog several weeks ago. It’s a “59-minute webcast of a forum on what kids learn when they create with digital media. The forum was sponsored by the MacArthur Foundation, the National Writing Project, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.” (This took up the majority of my two hour learning session – but, it was totally worth it). Through this webcast I was really able to see for the first time some of what we’ve been discussing in my education classes – that it’s not about what you spoonfeed or give students, but what they get from it – and how they are able to create and make content on their own. More.

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I also found a great list  entitled “The Purposes of Learning Technology” by Joshua Kim which provides a very succinct and accurate explanation to why learning technology is important:

–To challenge the status quo in teaching and learning.

–To make big classes act and feel like seminars.

–To help move courses towards an active learning model, where students construct their own learning.

–To help the faculty teach to their strengths.

–To allow our students to play to their strengths rather then worrying about correcting their weaknesses.

–To move the development of courses to a team approach that combines subject matter, librarian, technical and pedagogical professionals.

–To create learning environments that are appropriate for multiple intelligences and learning styles.

–To funnel inputs directly into the learning and teaching process.

–To provide mechanisms to evaluate and improve learning.

–To increase educational transparency.

–To develop mechanisms to share teaching materials with our communities and the world of life long learners.

–To help make the curriculum and the method of teaching relevant to the lives of our students.

–To move students from consumers to creators of knowledge.