Some advice from students!

Two_kids_cartoon
David Warlick posted some thoughts by students at a conference where he was presenting (and they were as well). Here are some of their thoughts:

"Kids were asked about the Maine Laptop initiative. One said that
when the grades when on line, it turned a lot of kids around — that is
their parents turned them around
.

Question: What do you think teachers should know and know how to do,
in order to work — facilitate learning in a laptop classroom?

  • do not correct kids for doing things on their laptops that they are
    already doing. Not talking about inappropriate web sites, but skills.
    Do not ignore the skills that we already have.
  • Keep an open mind to the tech skills that we already have. 
  • be willing to learn along with us…  We might teach you some things.
  • Do not teach teachers how to use technology.  Let the students teach them!"

I am a little confused about the first bullet–don’t correct if they are doing something inappropriate or don’t correct if they are ahead of the class in skills? The others seem like ideas to explore.

By the way, for those of you who now have RSS readers, try to subscribe to David’s blog. You’ll learn so much!

Answering the tough questions

Chris Lehman, a principal of the Science Leadership Academy, responded on his blog  Practical Theory  to some thoughts on another blog, and I thought they were worth repeating here:

But there also has to be a recognition that the stuff that was going on
in 1996 and 1997 was small and grew far too slowly. We are now seeing a
revolution because the ideas are spreading so much more quickly. Does
that discount what has come before? No, absolutely not, but it doesn’t
change the power of now. After all, Marx was nowhere without the ideas
of Hegel, right?

In the end, I do worry about the hype-factor with a lot of these
tools… and that’s why I do think it is incredibly important to keep
asking "What’s good" instead of "What’s new?" It’s also why it’s so
important to talk in terms of what we want to do, rather than the tools
we want to use. Steve Dembo talked about this recently in his post: Shiny Happy Tools when he wrote:

So what does this mean for educators? Simply this: Don’t
get married to the tools in your toolbox. A hammer is a hammer is a
hammer. So what if you really like the steel one with the yellow
handle? At some point that one might disappear and you better be ready
to pick up a new one. Need to cut a board but can’t find a saw? Time to
get creative my friend. If you are willing to concentrate on what your
actual needs are, you’ll find plenty of tools at hand for about every
project.

We have incredible tools at our disposal. They are fun to use, but what
we need to now do is start asking ourselves the harder question —
"What is that we want our students to do and be and what are the tools
— Web 2.0 and traditional — that we need to help our students achieve
their and our goals?"

And if you still have time, go visit the original blog–David Warlick’s–for an interesting discussion about what Web 2.0 means to all of us and if the label really matters.

As Jan Davis used to say….

Ponder

“What really makes the biggest difference in education is brilliant teaching…creative curriculum and delivery.” Sir Ken Robinson

I was reading the comments to Will’s excellent post about schools and creativity and read this reference by Steve. Will’s post points to some of the issues we’ve been talking about concerning technology at FA. We have the freedom to create the kind of school that works, don’t we?
(And if you want to see the full video of Sir Ken, I posted it a few weeks back here.

The article is definitely worth clicking this hyperlink. Go ahead, click!

A Video Worth Viewing

Here is the closing address at NECC by Dr. Tim Tyson, principal of Mabry School. Lots of talk of what makes a good school.
His students post their digital work to mabryonline.org and upload it to iTunes! The video includes (among other things) a wonderful example of a seventh-grade movie about organ donation and another on genetically-modified foods