1. September 26 & 27 2008.
The early discussions were ‘getting to know’ & some general thoughts on the purposes of the program. This involved some shared discussions at our various tables.
The overall goal of becoming technology leaders was clarified while we began sharing quite a few professional experiences. Things like Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol, Responsive Classroom & Total School were discussed. We began to do searches & sharing involving the web & useful sites (e.g. Minnesota Organization for Media – memoweb.org).
The emphasis was on sharing technology at this meeting & with our colleagues/students back at our Districts. It was valuable that we came from such a mix of Districts & had a variety of roles in those Districts. How were we to be the best facilitators possible by the end of this program?
Our group started to narrow down its interests. Primarily, how to guide our students into becoming effective users of web technology?
· Search skills
· Research skills
· Information/technology literacy
Ø Start with teachers
Ø Start with types of browsers
Ø Start with specific sites
It was very helpful to have Media Specialists as part of our group.
The afternoon session was given over to discussing various topics related to ‘WEB 2.0’.
It is obvious that a) technology is incredibly varied & rich; b) it increasingly focuses on being connected & sharing information; c) younger people in particular are comfortable with the immediacy & personal nature of the web; d) that the business world is relying on modern technological tools; & e) schools must make greater efforts to meet the expectations of students & employers for the (21st work environment.
Podcasts, blogs, aggregators such as RSS & wikis were just some of the innovations & tools discussed. Increasingly the physical location of a person was irrelevant to their ability to use technological tools & be in contact with others. As a result ‘collaboration’ should be the driving force for learning strategies.
Caveat – access to technology for student, family, community & District.
Some time was allowed for individuals to explore & share how they could implement things we had discussed &/or shared. For me it was to integrate technology into year 9 geography. This was already being done for research but what might be possible to explore collaboration?
RADCAB was a tool to introduce how to use the web. Contacts I already had with the Indian Land Tenure Foundation could be explored more for my students making contact via web with Native American communities.
Ø Look at how to frame any exercises so they will be useful for other departments & cross-department purposes.
There was a lot more sharing of useful sites & strategies in general discussion.
Finally, time was given to exploring & setting up blogs.
My comment to conclude was that I found email & professional web sites more practical than establishing & maintaining my own blog. Wattle12plus1.blogspot.com