Winding Down?

After two days of cold,pouring rain, the skies are beginning to clear in Virginia. It’s mid-May, and it should be hot and sunny. Normally, the warm weather signals a winding down of the school year for all of us.
This year, though, I feel like we are gearing up.
We are finally putting finishing touches on our involvement with the Powerful Learning Practice led by Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach and Will Richardson. I had hoped for more Virginia schools, however we have a strong contingent to join Elizabeth Helfant from St. Louis, several schools from New England, and 10 schools from New Zealand. The Virginia schools are Christchurch School, Randolph Macon Academy, St. Christopher’s School, and Fredericksburg Academy. We are the host school, so all face-to-face events will be held here.
To say I’m excited is an understatement. This is a great opportunity to put into practice what we’ve been working toward all year–a chance to collaborate professionally with schools around the world and to create a professional network of teachers all working on the same goals.
This summer I hope to arrange several opportunities for teachers to get up to speed on using various tools to enhance their collaboration. My short list includes:

  • Google Docs
  • RSS
  • SlideShare
  • Wiki Spaces

Watching these teachers learn to blog and network with others online shows me how powerful this reflective practice can be. But even those not blogging yet have started using wikis and Google Docs for class collaboration and video creation for student-centered learning. I miss having a class of my own!
Richardson commented about two schools he visited in Australia recently, saying…

Both are ripe for the ways in which technology can supplement real
learning in the classroom, not just information processing. Obviously,
there is much more about the culture and the infrastructure and the
climate that goes into all of this.

It is that connected culture and climate at FA that will allow us to continue this work with our students.
Image: ‘The Brindabella Light Show

Why I Love That I Love Change!

I’ve always loved change. I move my furniture around constantly. I’ve changed jobs many times over my lifetime. Heck, I moved constantly as a kid and attended 13 schools in 12 years.
So it’s often difficult for me to understand why some people don’t like change. And, frankly, I often feel like the odd one.
After reading pwoessner’s blog post, though, I feel vindicated!
Seriously, he makes some excellent points about creativity, our children’s future, and change.

Testing Apture Again

I love when companies respond to a request for help. Especially when the request wasn’t obvious.
This morning I was playing around with Apture and had some difficulties getting the links to appear. I used the "automatic add" available for Typepad, so I assumed the issue wasn’t with coding (since I hadn’t coded anything).
But my day was busy, so I left the issue to resolve later. If ever. You know how when faced with difficulties, we often just move on?
Tonight, I arrived home to discover an email from the folks at Apture explaining that, in fact, the issue may have had something to do with the automatic add button–AND giving me a suggestion to make it work.
Wow. So here I am, testing again. I do want to make this work. We plan to start blogging in earnest soon, and I am excited for students to try using this tool as they gather resources for research like the recent student-created videos on Jefferson, The Depression, and World War I they did for the AP review.
Now, if you see links in this with small icons placed next to certain words, you’ll know it’s up and running!

There we go! Thanks, Apture.


I am trying my best not to jump on every new thing these days. It’s time consuming. And most new tools are just that–new tools.
However, Will’s post this morning caught my eye. And in two seconds, I had signed up for Apture and added a link to my post on John Medina.
The program allows you to add videos, text, and images to your posts with a simple click. I am envisioning all kinds of use for student research. I added the link for John Medina while I was installing Apture. I’ll need to exit this post.
Ahhhh, I just discovered something. Only I can see the link and the video that goes along with John’s name. I just asked my colleague, Susanne, to check to see if she could see it. No luck.
Hmmm, more figuring to do on this one.

Edited: Ahhhh, so when I published the post, the link I had added to the previous post appeared on John’s name in this new post. Interesting!

Edited: And now the link in the previous post has disappeared, but all the links in the new post are working.

The Mysterious Brain


Starting Over.

That’s what John Medina says we need to do with our schools and offices IF we want to live and learn in an environment most conducive to what we know about the brain.

I first read about Brain Rules, on Glen Weibe’s site. But I wanted to know more.
Today, I spent some time reading John Medina’s posts and watching his fascinating videos on his Brain Rules blog.

He says:

Though we know precious little about how the brain works, our
evolutionary history tells us this: The brain appears to be designed to
solve problems related to surviving in an unstable outdoor environment,
and to do so in nearly constant motion. I call this the brain’s
performance envelope.

If you wanted to create an education
environment that was directly opposed to what the brain was good at
doing, you probably would design something like a classroom. If you
wanted to create a business environment that was directly opposed to
what the brain was good at doing, you probably would design something
like a cubicle. And if you wanted to change things, you might have to
tear down both and start over.

In many ways, starting over is what the book is all about.

He also says I can’t multi-task effectively….

And I need a nap at 3 p.m. Plus, teachers only have 10 minutes to keep their students’ attention.

I need to read this book!