This is a few days late, but I just wanted to write a quick post about the two day workshop that Steve Hargadon organized and that I gave at the Science Leadership Academy this past weekend. First, I got to check a couple of more bloggers off of my life list: Christian Long and George Mayo, both of whose names surprised me when I saw them on the attendee list. George is doing such creative stuff with his kids in terms of videocasting and podcasting. And Christian has become a prolific blogger who is pointing to all sorts of great stuff on his site.
The two days were highlighted by some great conversation about how we get to the next level of the conversation, which to me, at least, is how to make some systemic changes regarding teaching and learning. We all seem to have variations on the same theme, that it will eventually happen from the ground up. I just wonder what we can do to move things along somewhat.
A couple of blog-worthy moments from the workshop. At the point where we started talking about doing audio recordings, I took out my iPod, my iRiver, my microphones and other such stuff. Within about a minute we had a pretty impressive array of equipment that the group was carrying. That was the first time I had that happen, and Chris Lehmann, our distinguished host, pointed to that fact as a sign that things were changing.
The second moment was when Christian began talking about how easy it was not just to publish in digital form but also in print form as well. I had one of those â€œdoh!â€ moments when he started talking, like why arenâ€™t my own kids writing books that we can publish on the Web but also kick out through LuLu as holiday gifts next year. In fact, we should make it a yearly event. As I looked around the brand new SLA library where we were working, noticing a few empty shelves, I said to Chris â€œyou know, you should reserve one of these shelves for books that your students make.â€ As you can see by the picture, he agreed.
The best part of the whole workshop was that the attendees got the chance to interact with the SLA teachers for a good chunk of time. Unfortunately, there werenâ€™t any kids around as Friday was a teacher workshop day. But I think we all got a sense of what it was like to work with these technologies with kids and what some of the real advantages were. It was great to see Moodle and blogs and wikis in practice, and there is much more to come when Chris and his teachers move over to Drupal in the near future.
One final story. I got the chance to chat with Marcie Hull who is a technology and art teacher. (She uses both sides of her brain.) She shared with me an IM chat that she had been having with a student as she sat in on the workshop. This student was struggling a bit in adjusting to the different teaching and learning emphasis that SLA has, and, as his advisee, Marcie was counseling him even when he was away from school. The best part was that she was sharing some of her own struggles with him, and modeling for him the ways in which sheâ€™s learned to change and cope. It was a pretty amazing example of the extended connections that these teachers can have with their kids. They can know them and teach them and even learn with them in some amazing waysâ€¦