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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

This is the edge and it ROCKS!



Our weekly teacher meetings in Elluminate have come to be one of the highlights of my week.  Just got off of elluminate with over half of our teachers for Netgened-- the countries represented?  Qatar, Pakistan, Australia, US, New Zealand -- about 9 of us there.  It was a GREAT meeting.

I think the reason I love it is that it is REAL teaching.   Our struggles and discussions today:
  • Helping students understand COLLABORATIVE writing (they want to write their piece in word, paste it in and sign their names) -- COLLABORATION requires higher order thinking by definition and is tough to teach.
  • Storyboarding and helping the students accurately request video from their partners in other classrooms.  This is tough because they have to convey the vision.
  • Discussions of ongoing interactions with Don Tapscott to discuss the 8 net gen norms!  The kids LOVE HIM.  Especially after he pulled the bait and switch on them in his first video.  (All the teachers laughed -- the kids were throwing things at the smartboard when we showed the video!)  They're talking about customization right now.  (Anyone can join in!)
  • Our Help resources on the wiki and what needs to be added.
  • Planning the potential for an awards ceremony in OpenSim -- ready to move into a virtual world.
  • Deadlines!!! ;-)
  • Helping kids connect who are having some things blocked at school. (Sonniya in Pakistan has her kids working at home.)
  • First time teachers struggle with a project of this immensity -- Julie and I were able to put our toe in the water -- but now this project is immense and any teacher who makes it through is a hero in my book!  
  • Elluminate student summits at the end and how everyone is going to put those into Google Cal so I can put them in elluminate with the correct dates.  (Did I tell you timebridge is our BEST FRIEND?)
  • Just reflecting on how excited the kids are.
  • The great Digital Storytelling Webinar by Hall Davidson with the spectacular Discovery Educators Network today.
And this was just in ONE HOUR!!!   It was rich, full of ideas, and very, very real.  Hats off to the brave (yes I said brave) teachers who undertake this sort of project and the amazing administrators who empower this!

And when we're done -- we all laugh because we never know what to say --so today it was Good-morn-after-evening.  Soniiya went to bed (she stayed up until 2 am) and Julie and Sam did too!  I'm headed home to cook dinner and Anne and Steve are headed to school.

This world is not flat - it is very very round and yet, with those who are willing to connect any place anywhere anytime -- it is a hugely enriching experience that is transforming us all.

There is no bungee jumping, skydiving, snowboarding adrenaline rush-inducing activity that can replace how I feel after a session like this.  This is the edge.

And all of us who "flatten" and do this sort of thing -- we'll never go back to teaching inside the box.  Our box is round and world sized and beyond and this is the way I want to be for the rest of my teaching career. 

Once you've gone flat, you can never go back. ;-)

Good morn-after-evening, my friends.  Remember your noble calling and teach like your life depends on it - for truly the future of this world does.
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