Tuesday, October 31, 2006

K12 Online Keynote: Opportunities and Creativity in Education

Week 2 of the K12 Online Conference has started and I am working through the two new keynotes for this week. One aspect of this confernce is the range of accents! From a Georgian twang to a Scottish brogue! (I mean this affectionately of course).

The Overcoming Obstacles keynote:

Unleash the Potential: Remix Obstacles into Opportunities
by Anne Davis, Georgia USA

A select summary (bits that I wanted to particularly remember)
  • What is the best way to present the obstacles?
  • I don't have an answer for each obstacle, neither do you, but we all have a passion for creating environments for students where there is joy and excitement and a connecting and learning by talking and sharing globally.
  • We need to be creative and think of ways to get others involved....have those conversations in unexpected places....extend the conversations into actions that can affect the change.
  • Remix #1: An opportunity to change public opinion on high-stakes testing
  • Remix #2: An opportunity to reach a technophobic teacher: Provide examples of actual work with students...teachers want to see the technology making a difference
  • Remix #3: ...Seize the time...make the time for writing and thinking. Help educators reframe their use of time. Blogging is valuable use of time
  • Remix #4: An opportunity to build concrete examples that this type of learning is powerful.
  • Remix #5: An opportunity to involve others outside your classroom (parents, school board memebrs etc).....show them relevant posts made by students. Make them part of the process and they may become part of the solution...
  • Remix #6: An opportunity to change public opinion on the use of social networking tools in schools and libraries....the best way to protect our young people is through education. Invite parents in on the dialogue on these tools....
Anne's wiki Remixing Obstacles into Opportunities
Aim: to provide a 'Quick click' to 'just for the moment' resources. Readers are invited to contribute resources.

Anne asks: What is one way you can turn an obstacle into an opportunity??

I posted this comment to the conference blog just a while ago:

"Anne, I am thinking hard about how to turn an obstacle into an opportunity. Sometimes during the working week there seem to be so many ‘obstacles’ that I feel clousterphobic. I totally empathise with your views on needing to be working with the students. As an administrator I still have a teaching load, but my classes are like fresh air to me after meetings and problem solving and planning etc etc for the rest of my time. I am very reluctant to let them go. This is where I work through many of the obstacles that others find and help to show other teachers good examples of what is possible and what does improve communication and learning.

My looming obstacle is a parent education evening where I have elected to discuss digital literacy and eLearning and how it improves education and benefits the students….I think I may be throwing myself to the wolves here. However, I was heartened by a conversation with parents today (remember I am in Bangladesh but many of our parents are well educated and well travelled) about social networking sites and found their attitude to be positive and their knowledge broad about the good and not so good aspects.

After hearing you tonight I feel heartened and reinvigorated to start planning for my parent meeting and determined to turn it into an opportunity to share experiences, discuss fears and show examples of learning in the 21st century using the tools that these parents pay a lot of money for in school fees. Wish me luck! Thanks Anne for your inspiration!"

Checking the wiki again I find there are already great resources available that I can use for my parent evening with topics such as filtering and online safety issues. Anne also provides a page on presentations to be shared. Does anyone have presentation material or ideas or resources that are specifically for parent evenings aimed at fostering community learning, collaboration and discussion in a positive way? I would be most interested in seeing these. In return I promise to share the resources I finally put together for the session at our school in a few weeks.

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