I, Gutenberg

February 27, 2007

haulin netNothing like the nuclear family, huddled around the hearth on a February eve just prior to dinner. Except, my 12-year-old is on her laptop finishing a science project, my 13-year-old is on another computer working on her on-line class. My 15-year-old is on another computer filling out an application for a college study trip. I, Gutenberg, am blogging. No TVs are on.

No, the future certainly isn’t what it used to be.

David Warlick writes of School 2.0; I’m thinking it’s Kid 2.0—maybe Family 2.0. Will Richardson notes that Kids 2.0 (my term) are amid a revolution of putting a lot of their information on line for all to see; sometimes it’s TMI. Doug Johnson overviews the characteristics of Generation Next; today’s K-12 students are even younger than that. And Miguel Guhlin has been treating the The Way It Is v. The Way It Will Be.

The convergence point for these conversations is the Read/Write Web.

When Gutenberg invented the printing press, information flowed from those (church, state) who had access to the press. Today, everybody has the press and therefore ownership of self-expression broadly disseminated. This an exciting time and a time of great responsibility.

Schools have a responsibility to teach Kids 2.o how to use the Read/Write Web for far-reaching academic, professional, even business purposes—not just as an entertainment and communication portal.

So, my hat is off to the trailblazing Gutenbergs of Carteret County Schools who have experimented with the new media and / or have channeled positive blogging experiences to their students of today.

Writing, perhaps even publishing, on a daily or routine basis can help make one a more proficient, confident writer. That is one of our charges in public education.

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Still Running: Art from the Heart

February 23, 2007

High on this weekend’s tipsheet has got to be Art from the Heart at the old News-Times building. Dick Rogers, local artists, art teachers, and art students have assembled a real treat for the eyes and minds. View a video montage of the art on display.

And read Dick’s letter to the art teachers regarding last night’s Parent Night:

Art Teachers,

 

I wish to thank you all for making Parent Night so successful. The evening went extremely well. You could not have asked for a better turnout than a full house. Having both shows under one roof provided a range of artwork from the kindergartener to the octogenarian. Both parents and students enjoyed viewing the imaginative and creative artwork; students were well behaved and conducted themselves in an exemplary manner; food was delicious and in sufficient quantity to last throughout the evening; clean-up went smoothly; the building was left neat and orderly for today’s gallery sitters. If there were any glitches, I did not see them.

 

I appreciate all your hard work that went into making the evening such a smash hit. I think you furthered the cause of art in Carteret County.

 

Dick Rogers

If you miss this, you miss out!


Dear Diary

February 22, 2007

Web logs, or blogs, began as on-line diaries. They have evolved into so much more . . . and have quite a ways to go.

I’ve never used mine as a diary. So what the heck, why not now?

Today started with a School System Media and Technology Advisory Committee meeting. It ran very well. Media coordinators, tech facilitators, tech support, central office admin, a BOE member, and principals shared their perspectives on the following agenda items:

  • Hardware Acquisition
  • Superintendent Search
  • Laptop Learning Initiative
  • Wireless Initiative
  • After Office 2003
  • Tech Plan/Client Satisfaction Survey
  • Local Teaching and Learning Conference, 2008

I am indebted to this group for their input on future initiatives. I realize the teacher voice is lacking on the committee, and we must reconcile that. This much is for sure, the synergy of many heads contributing surpasses the extent of any one.

Next it was off to the meeting with the superintendent and finance officer on some final numbers and formats for the 2007-2008 capital budget request. The beauty of this is that, of date, this request is owned by schools through a strategic, long-term, participatory process. And to date, it is still standing.

Perhaps the most fun of the day happened next when I met with the high school athletic directors to chart our course for the future. Play ignites the soul!

OK, from there it was a middle school basketball game, then a soccer practice, then . . .

The opening of the Art from the Heart Art Show. Dick Rogers, local artists, school art teachers, and students have some real eye candy on display at the old News-Times building. This is a definite must see for the next week.

One more gig. And that was the Lady Mariners post season run at the Mariner Dome. Yes, they are a special basketball team. Yes, they won. And yes they play again at home on Saturday night. Come and support them.

For them, for me, and hopefully for you . . . today was just another good day in the life.


IMPACT: Rarified Air

February 20, 2007

haulin netEvery so often, it pays to come up and sample some air. We did this at the principals’ meeting at BCMS on 2/20 when we shared some local best practices regarding IMPACT, North Carolina’s guidelines for successful K-12 media and technology programs.

Rare air it is indeed when we have the 2004 NC Technology Educator of the Year in the same room as the 2006 IMPACT School of the Year. We rounded them out with other models of IMPACT excellence from within the county.

The presenters gave brief snapshots of how media coordinators and instructional technology facilitators can add value to balanced curriculum, professional development, planning and scheduling, purchasing, building community, and Senior Project.

All schools in the system have media and technology plans which address how they implement IMPACT, teach the Computer Skills Curriculum and Information Skills Curriculum, and why they need current technology to support their efforts.

Although we have some excellent models of IMPACT, we still struggle with equitability in some spots. And, out of fairness to all students, we must work toward remedies.

  1. The ideal is that all schools have a certified, full time instructional technology facilitator.
  2. The ideal is that we have adequate tech support so that the instructional technology facilitators can spend the majority of their time in teaching and learning with teachers and students.
  3. The ideal is that instructional technology facilitators and media coordinators function together as the hub of meaningful learning within schools.
  4. The ideal is that students and staff have ubiquitous access to adequate current technology.

So, as with anything else, we have challenges to work through as we approach the ideals. But this much is obvious from the sampling of rarefied air that occurred at the principals’ meeting:

  1. We have come a long way!
  2. There are reasons why we are seen as state leaders in IMPACT.
  3. We are committed to maintaining our trajectory.

Many thanks to the presenters, principals, and hosts who made today’s stories worth sharing.


Personal Learning Networks

February 19, 2007

Weblogg-ed » NECC Workshop

“As I’m sure is obvious by this point, my focus has been shifting of late from classroom practice using these tools, which, by and large, I think has been relatively unimpressive, to personal learning practice. (Don’t get me wrong, there are some great examples out there, but they are few and far between.)

I think had I written the workshop description today, it would have had even more to say not just about the how to but about the why and the process of building networks of practice. To me, that’s what really will translate into effective, ethical classroom use.”

…and so writes Will Richardson, who will be the keynoter at NCaect in about three weeks. His sharper focus aligns with our laptop learning initiative. Perhaps all these tools we are learning—and will continue to learn—will simply give us competitive advantage as education professionals and lifelong learners.

I can see an integration of Firefox and add-ons, Google Reader and Docs, Zoho Planner and perhaps eventually Notebook, and WordPress Blogs evolving as the hub of our Personal Learning Networks.

I marvel at the prospect—and anticipate the investigation—of what these tools can do to augment on-line classes for high school students..

powered by performancing firefox


Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.

February 18, 2007

haulin netI have the fortune to meet with our K-8 PE teachers. These meet-ups are great opportunities to network, to share best practices, and—most of all—to play. Play is one of the six critical aptitudes Daniel Pink lists for success in the conceptual age.

The Bogue Sound Elementary dynamic duo (and intern) led us through the following agenda on February 16:

  1. Paper Plate Twist,
  2. Boot Scootin’ Boogie line dance,
  3. Tchoukball,
  4. and a transcendent yoga sequence.

Tchoukball is a new sport/game we learned and played. None of us had ever played it before, so we brought all our alpha-dog athletic habits to the experience. We soon found out they were useless.

The rules of tchoukball run counter-cultural to our traditional sporting background—

Dr Hermann Brandt, the creator of tchoukball, wrote:

‘The objective of human physical activities is not to make champions, but make a contribution to building a harmonious society’.

Tchoukball has a unique Charter which underpins the ‘Spirit of the Game’ so elusive in modern sport. Fair play and respect for the opposition is a fundamental part of the way in which tchoukball is played. All physical contact between players and interceptions are banned, enabling all players of differing shapes and sizes to play together.

Back in the BSE gym, the first few games of tchoukball we played were revealing. Our inclinations were to do all the things we had learned over time. We wanted to put our heads down and run with the ball, we wanted to block, we wanted to intercept, we wanted to fire the ball at the net with Herculean force.

None of this worked in tchoukball. We had to unlearn those habits in order to be successful. Imagine, if you will, 25 accomplished PE teachers having to unlearn the skills we prize and teach. We were a little uncomfortable, a tad out of our element. We were going to new ground together and that created an interesting and supportive social dynamic.

Collectively, we began sharing ideas and strategies on how we could succeed at this game. The main discovery was that it was more advantageous to defend the carom or rebound than the shooter or the shot. At our mature places in life, we had to re-learn what it means to succeed at a sport.

“Learn. Unlearn. Relearn.” It is a catchphrase that is fast becoming cliche. But there may be no more succinct way to sum up the path to success in the unpredictable, unconventional future.

In our classrooms across all subject areas, do we engage students with innovative learning experiences that allow them to solve unconventional problems? Or do we deliver the same old predictable line?

Thank you, Dr. PLB and Debbie B, for supporting our tchoukball adventure. Thank you, Colleen and Jo-Ellen, for leading our learning journey.

Tchoukball, anyone?


Hey Jim Butler, CHS Science Guy!

February 16, 2007

Great job!

The cliché “Ignorance is bliss” comes to mind.

It is my hopes that this blog site will serve as a tool to promote reflection on the use and misuse of scientific advancements. The topics chosen are intended to be current, relevant, and controversial.