Sunday, June 24, 2007

Edubloggercon: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

I am reminded of the classic Dr Seuss poem as I start this post. You know, the one that goes like this:

Oh, the Places You'll Go!

Today is your day.
You're off to Great Places!
You're off and away!

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes
You can steer yourself
any direction you choose.
You're on your own. And you know what you know.
And YOU are the guy who'll decide where to go.

You'll look up and down streets. Look 'em over with care.
About some you will say, "I don't choose to go there."
With your head full of brains and your shoes full of feet,
you're too smart to go down any not-so-good street.

And you may not find any
you'll want to go down.
In that case, of course,
you'll head straight out of town.

It's opener there
in the wide open air.

Out there things can happen
and frequently do
to people as brainy
and footsy as you.

And when things start to happen,
don't worry. Don't stew.
Just go right along.
You'll start happening too.


Here is the full version: Oh, the places you'll go!

Like a new graduate with places to go the NECC Edubloggercon event yesterday organised by Steve Hargadon was a momentous day but only the start of great things to happen and great places to go. This event could be emulated at other conferences, nationally and internationally. It could also diversify and expand to offer a wider variety of sessions at different entry levels. However, right now it is grass roots and it is exciting to be part of it and to meet up with so many colleagues who I have only seen virtually for many months. I was thrilled to meet Vicki Davis and it was a natural transition from being online together to actually talking and sharing face to face. You will find this funny, Vicki skyped me in the middle of David Warlick's session....I was only sitting 2 seats away but she thought I should be responding to a point made and told me so....we are so used to communicating online!
Also, during the same session a good looking young man came to sit with is, I looked up, it was Jeff Utecht...we have so much to still catch up on this week.

The Edubloggercon Group (sorry, it's a little blurry)

Vicki Davis, Jef Utecht and me!

Dinner at the Sundial including Terry Freedman, Vicki, Cheryl Oakes, Sharon Peters

The sessions I attended during the Edubloggercon day have helped me to consolidate and extend my thinking about what opportunities we all have now to improve learning situations in our schools. Learning is exciting with tech tools! How can we really get the message across without sounding like a tech nerd? There are many ways but one of the most important repeated ideas to come out of the day was that curriculum and approaches to learning must be dominant, not the technology itself. Anything is possible, the tools support the learning as long as the attitude of the teacher/facilitator allows for a broader more inclusive constructivist approach.

None of this is new of course, we cannot be fooled into thinking we are inventing the wheel just because we now have some new toys and online spaces to play with. However, never before has the immediacy of the Internet made it possible to interact, communicate and create and share in such a way. Increased bandwidth, online storage and networking sites (eg slideshare, YouTube, Flickr etc) have opened our eyes to more possibilities. Think laterally! Don't just give out the 'make a Powerpoint' asignment, include a wiki page, slideshare and embed the artefact on the wiki and invite discussion. Use the tools and invite analytical approaches in the classroom.

So we have brains in our head and feet in our shoes and we can steer ourselves in the direction we choose. Let's choose wisely! Let's be inclusive and not biased or prejudiced. Let's provide opportunities for ourselves and our students that improve understanding globally and aim for a holistic approach to learning.

Thank you to all edubloggers for your comraderie and for sharing ideas, desires and plans for a better future.

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