Thanks so much to those of you who participated in today’s inaugural George Lucas Education Foundation webinar. Here’s hoping that you found the conversation thought-provoking and valuable.
As promised, because of the limited time for questions, please feel free to use the commenting function on my blog to ask anything that we may not have had time for earlier. Remember that if you leave the “Notify me of followup comments via e-mail” box checked, you’ll receive any answers and also other questions in via e-mail. I’ll try to respond to as many of these as I can in the next few days.
Again, thanks for tuning in.
Jim Hunt says
I am the principal of a small elementary school in Monroeville, Indiana (near Fort Wayne) and I also have the duty of teaching our “Highly Abled” students. My superior charged me of developing a project with and for these students that will result in some kind of “product” that I can take back and show that I did work with them. One thing I was thinking of was having each student research and come up with some piece of knowledge that is unique to them and then having them post it on the Wikipedia site. Would you or anyone else have a suggestion for a worthwhile project that might help this small group of 3rd-6th graders get to utilize the “Global Online Classroom”?
Will Richardson says
I think you could have them create their own “Wikipedia” of local knowledge that future classes could build upon. There are a number of easy to use wiki sites like wikispaces.com, pbwiki.com, and wetpaint.com.
If that works, you could then find other schools in your area or around the world that could collaborate in that work with you. Maybe you could compare what you collect, reflect on the differences, and start some conversations about what those differences mean, etc. You could do video, audio…etc. The possibilities for creation are limitless.
Ultimately, the point is to help them build their own networks and be able to see the potential connections out there.
Laura Smith says
Thank you very much for an inspiring webinar. I really don’t have any questions for you at the moment as I take some time to digest the discussion, but I’ve definitely come away with some notes and the beginnings of some ideas. Thanks again!
Will Richardson says
Thanks, Laura. Glad you enjoyed it!
Terry Kaminski says
In February I will moving from teaching full time to teaching half time and the other half time I will be assuming the role of technology integrator at my school. We are planning to implement a 1 to 1 laptop project with our Gr.9 students in Sept. 2009. Much of what you said today will definitely help me develop my PD plan for our school. I was planning to have every teacher develop some kind of web presence. I am thinking of having every teacher start a blog or wiki for second semester. This will help begin to have them develop a web presence and help them to understand how blogs/wikis can be used.
I am also thinking of introducing the teachers to RSS feeds and aggregators such as Bloglines. I want to get my teachers reading blogs. There is a lot of learning that can happen just by reading GOOD blogs. Lord knows I have learned a lot from reading your blog over the years.
Your thoughts on what I plan to do with my teachers?
Will Richardson says
Those are great goals, but don’t try to do too much too fast. What I have found is that it’s always good to create a foundation for the uses of the tools by creating a dialogue around the big changes that are occurring with the Web tools you mention. I might begin those conversations by using the tools myself, modeling their uses and encouraging people to participate.
Ultimately, I think your goal of having teachers develop a web presence is a good one. I’d just make sure they have some context for why it’s important for them to do that.
Nancy Roberts says
Could you please send me the web addresses of the sites you showed during your webinar – especially Laura’s blog?
Will Richardson says
You can get all the links at this wiki page. Thanks for stopping by.
Sorry that I missed this webinar. It’s good that there’s an archived version. I found Will’s perspective on the R/W web spot on and his suggestions about how to handle (deal?) with this shift that is making large inroads in how we teach quite practical and sensible. The concerns raised by many of the participants – web access, time management, skills learning, etc., are real and quite daunting. I have had the fortune of being both an educator and an ICT professional and not only can commiserate with many out there but also can say that what we are facing in this Internet age is an entirely new paradigm in teaching and learning, and of course, of doing things. We are thus faced with a very real dilemma: we have a generation of teachers and educators who were trained, brought up, perhaps been committed to the pre-web old paradigms (someone mentioned assessment concerns?) and, on the other hand, a generation of digital natives (if not young digital immigrants) who have embraced the web wholeheartedly. The latter, bless their souls, have learned to their own credit and largely by peer-learning and trial and error how to navigate and negotiate the digital world. More often than not, they entered their adolescence with very little guidance from school or even from their own families. One can hardly blame the overwhelmed teacher or parent. But what really takes this issue to the core, it that the digital world and especially the hyper-threaded web, presents a different way of knowing and learning that has little resemblance to how the older pre-web generation was educated (finite linear, Aristotelian, evidentiary methods). Not that this has become inconsequential and our present knowledge of the world is premised on this mode of learning with many great achievements and achievers emerging from it, but for many of us who have been coached in this manner, the rapid advances in social technologies can be truly overwhelming. As an ICT practitioner, I have seen many faces go blank when you start explaining how mashups work, much less explain the essential differences in file formats. To the digital natives, these have all become second nature and as comfortable as ordering pizza by email. The task beforehand then is to openly accept, for the older generation, the possibility that their approach to learning and doing things will need to change and to consciously be aware of how to integrate this technologies in their professional work if not in their personal life. As a matter of fact, most of the technology-related concepts we already knew all along: ‘multitasking’ – isn’t that what mother’s do? Networking – the PTA is a good example. Mashups – just go watch a kindergarten school play. But not to trivialize these activities, the new paradigm demands that we simply need to pay more attention to connecting the dots, not so much in a finite linear way, but in every expanding circles. If each dot carried an idea, then the idea explodes in many directions. That to me is what learning is about. Technology just makes it easier.
sorry I messed up the previous post. It should read:
The RSS idea is great by the way. I used the code at http://www.roxytown.com to teach students how to implement an RSS feed. I wrote the code so hopefully it isnt too bad.
ps how about having your students come up with and research one idea which they feel can change the world. After that you can have them vote on one idea which best reflect the goals of the class. Finally they can work collaboratively to build and promote this idea with another school (perhaps around the world). Currently I sell real estate, but in a previous career I tutored students by using methodology which was pertinent to them. In my case that meant simplifying math/calculus so that anyone could understand it using symbols The webinar was fascinating; isnâ€™t it incredible we can now reach people in such a meaningful and significant way while allowing them to also reach out and â€œteachâ€ us the teachers.