K12 Learning 2.0

A couple of weeks ago, I started the K12 Learning 2.0 online course.

The goal of the course is to help everyone become familiar with some of the exciting, emerging Web technologies available to support professional, personal and classroom learning in the 21st Century! The course is, intentionally, about play and possibility, rather than pedagogy; about exploration, rather than classroom application; about discovery and experimentation, rather than “doing it right.” We hope participants make connections and become inspired along the way. Learning is messy, and “mistakes” often lead to new understandings!

After completing the course, I’m hoping to convince others at my school to enrol and then I can act as their local coach. I think this will be a great way to use a successful, already-existing solution in order to introduce my colleagues to the Wonder World of Web 2.0.

T.E.A.M.

The beauty and power of Web 2.0 is in it’s collaborative nature. We are able to benefit from the expertise of those around us.

The sad and unfortunate truth in many schools is that we work in isolation, trapped in our classrooms, our departments, our sections, our schools or our districts.

After a weekend conference at our school, I was inspired to use the former to combat the latter. Collaborating with another teacher, I’ve implemented a school-wide wiki – available only on our portal, unfortunately – to share practices of differentiation. There are areas for differentiating by readiness, interest, or learning profile. Within each of these three categories, teachers can add resources to help with diagnostics, content, process, product or affect differentiation.

Different Types of Differentiation

I’ve modeled the concept on that of a Creative Commons license, without referring to it as such.. Specifically, “there is only one rule: If you modify an existing resource, please add your new creation to the wiki so that another teacher may benefit from your work.”

If there is one thing I’ve heard from teachers, it’s that they want concrete
examples of how to implement change in their classrooms. This is an opportunity to provide those concrete examples for each other. I hope that some of us can lead by example, easily and freely sharing and distributing our best-practice. I hope that somebody else will come along, take my work and make it better. And I hope they share it with me again.

Together Everyone can Achieve More

Photos:
“driveby tree” by Lorrie McClanahan
“The World at my Fingertips” by Jill Greenseth

The Revolution Will Not Be Televised… It’ll Be Podcasted

NOTE: a version of this post first appeared on an internal blog at our school as was inspired by a post by Jeff Utecht.

With all due respect to Gil Scot-Heron… Revolution Square

True revolutions are not created or planned. They are organic: they arise when the needs of the masses (students, teachers, and even administrators) outstrip what the dominant establishment (the monolithic entity of ‘Education’) is able to supply.

We are on the precipice of a revolution.  There is a growing number of teachers who realize there is a better way.  There is a change in the demographics of both teachers and administrators as innovators and early adopters of these new technologies take up positions of responsibility within schools. There are groups of students who are becoming more aware of the vast educational possibilities that collaborative technologies allow.

There are two ways for this revolution to be truly initiated: either a watershed event a la the Boston Tea Party, or through a methodical plan of actively searching out the agents of change, slowly proselytizing by example and converting whoever we can whenever we can.  In either case, the goal is to create the critical mass necessary to evoke true reform and revolution in the sphere of education.

Once 50% +1 of a school or even a department are using collaborative technologies in a meaningful and productive way, can the remaining population afford not to? Once the teachers in these trailblazing departments or schools move on to their next destination, as is always the case in international schools, will they willingly go back to the way things were?  These teachers then become the messengers of change as they enter their new schools, bringing with them their expertise and the power of their personal network.

This revolution will be a grass-roots, bottom-up shift from teachers who understand the power of Web 2.0. There should not, can not, and will not be shift in educational philosophy decreed by the powers. That’s not the way revolution works.

Photo Credit: localsurfer