Thursday, October 26, 2006

Reaching New Heights with Online Learning

Since arriving home to Dhaka last night from our 6-day trip to Nepal and Kathmandu I have had my nose totally buried behind the computer screen. Luckily our wonderful maid, Nihola, arrived this morning (after her EID holiday) so that pile of washing and ironing is miraculously being done while I enjoy the blogosphere [the joys of an expat lifestyle ;-)].

Talk about new heights...'top of the world' in Nepal and now a chance to interact and learn from 'top of the heap' classroom practitioners, administrators and all-round collaborators. I am humbled by the diversity and quality of the presentations I have caught up with so far and will be spending the rest of today finalising my contribution for next week. When I used the term 'top of the heap' I was referring to those of us who are willing to put ourselves forward and share our experiences, to interact, to collaborate, in order to also learn from those around us. The list of presenters are as diverse as the topics they have offered to share. Diverse in geographical location, experience, position and outlook. However, we all have a common bond and this is what is making the K12 Online Conference so great! Today I have already downloaded new programs, learnt more about online presentation techniques and have a lot of new ideas to contemplate for when school starts again next week.

I would like to pay tribute so far to Vicki Davis for her systematic overview of wiki practice and pedagogy in the classroom. She presents a clear formula for success and I have learnt so much from her handouts and video! Her presentation is: "Wiki Collaboration Across the Curriculum".

Also, a tribute to Lani Ritter Hall for her presentation: "Second Nature: Extending Dialogue in the Blogosphere" . I have been trying to get together a definitive guide to blogging and commenting based on what others have already written. I thank Lani for her great video and list of resources. As a jazz musician and Brubeck fan, I also empathise with her analogy to jazz. I think we can all learn a lot from her work and her attibution to others, including Anne Davis.

Lani says about commenting to blog postings:
"Commenting is much like jazz, with forms and themes, but also incredible opportunity for creativity, innovation and adaptation"...... Use of commenting to extend and reinforce thinking and learning. Dialogue out there now often takes a shallow form and do not encourage the dialogue and deeper inderstanding of conversations. "....but it is hard to cross the line to comments that reflect good thinking. Time for new rhythm to scaffold the music".

Brubeck analogy "Take Five" benefits of blogging and commenting:
  • Global audience
  • Encourage deeper thinking
  • Connect students
  • Offere teachable moments
  • Improve writing
"Time Out"
  • Inapprorpaite comments: Grab a teachable moment and move on (A. Davis)
  • A Plan: report, delete, discuss, do not respond
"In Your Own Sweet Way"
  • Comment in writing
  • Oral (eg Vaestro)
  • Podcast
Lani reviews Blogmeister as a controlled environment for teachers and classrooms.
"Pennies from Heaven"
  • Invite parents
  • Other teachers
Lani concludes her video with:
"Second Nature": "Comments unleash the potential to foster incredible learning through meaningful dialogue...What sweet music! Won't you join?" Find more links to resources from her presentation.

Finally, I am also trying to edit and upload our Nepal are a couple. The rest can be found here (eventually...don't worry I will remind you again when they are all uploaded).

Durbar Square during Diwali, Kathmandu

One view of the Himalayas (My husband took this! I have no stomach for joy flights)

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Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher said...

What beautiful photographs! Wow! I was envious all weekend! Gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

I want to echo Anne's sentiments about Lani. I am so looking forward to your presentation as well Julie. Welcome home.


Wesley Fryer said...

Great feedback Julie, how superb you can be a part of the K-12 Online Conference experience and learning journey, and make contributions through your preso and posts like this! Can't wait for more pics of Nepal! :-) Are you going to do any Bubbleshares?