Saturday, January 27, 2007

My Response to the Ethics Question

In response to David Warlick's post Ethics Challenges & Information I have two areas that cause me the most concern as I think about the question:

“What is your greatest challenge in teaching appropriate, ethical use of web-based media to your students?”

1. Determining information reliability - Teaching kids to weed through information sources to determine context, perspective, bias, and/or motive is one of the most challenging things for me as a teacher. Look for the author. When was the site updated? How do you know it is true? Is it an opinion or a fact? Leading kids down to road to begin thinking critically about the information is a 'lesson within a lesson' every day.

2. Intellectual property rights - Teaching kids that things on the web did not just "appear," that someone put them there and many times designed and produced the materials themselves is a constant part of my day. Part of my j0b in reinforcing ethics and responsibility is teaching them to recognize the need to acknowledge authorship of intellectual property. It's so hard to move a step beyond "it's there so I will use it" to "it's there but can I use it?"

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Are we producing students who are globally competitive?

On my way to school this morning I listened to a short Alan November podcast that talks about the importance of students becoming lifelong learners. Alan give three essential skills that are necessary to ensure this.

1. Students need to have "phenomenal capacity to deal with overwhelming amounts of information." They need to be able to access it, organize it, produce it, make meaning of it, add value to it, and publish it.

2. Global Communication - Students need to understand social protocols, different points of view, and have skills in teamwork and collaboration.

3. As educators, we must provide students with a culture of learning that leads them to be self-directed. Students need to be self-motivated (this is a tough one for me), self-assessing, have a sense of interdependency and be team builders. We need to move away from the old model of teaching kids how to be taught to teaching kids how to learn.

This podcast really resounded for me as I am redirecting my thinking as a teacher. The third one is almost overwhelming for me as I can see a cultural shift will have to take place before this can happen.

Monday, January 22, 2007

"The Ten Forces that Flattened the World" Post #1

I had these grandeur thoughts that I would read half of The World is Flat while I was in Mexico during Christmas holidays, but it just didn't happen. I did manage to get some reading done both to and from on the plane. This first post is going to highlight some of the things that grabbed my attention in the first bit of the novel.

Flattener #1 (The New Age of Creativity: When the Walls Came Down and the Windows Came Up) was interesting as it had never occurred to me to think of the fall of the Berlin Wall and the debut of Windows happening during the same time period. While the wall was up, it was difficult to think about the world in a global sense; it was difficult to think of the world as a whole. Windows 3.0 shipped only 6 months after the fall of the Berlin Wall. While the fall of the wall eliminated a physical & geographical barrier which kept information from passing, Windows offered a common operating system that would become a standard. PC's started to rise in popularity and enabled individuals to create, gather, collect and manipulate information in digital form on a global scale.

Then came dial-up modems which ushered in CompuServe & AmericaOnline. My very first internet connection was with AOL and I thought it was the "cat's meow" the first time I went online. Now when I visit my mother in rural Oklahoma and check my email with her dial-up and AOL it is pure torture to wait for the pages to load. We've come a long way in a short time! More to come.....

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Time to Set Some Goals

I woke up this morning - earlier than I would have liked to on a Sunday morning - with ideas swimming in my head. Not that this is anything new for me, but I feel some things coming into focus.

I started this blog a few months ago and to date it has been a chore to post things and I finally figured out why. The blog lacked purpose and focus when I began. I think when I first put it up it was because I was so impressed with what other educators were doing and I can see tremendous personal & professional growth opportunities. But, I am going about it all wrong. I need a PURPOSE! So....

I am going to change my focus for awhile and truly use this space as a journal and hope it will turn into a collaboration. Over Christmas break I started reading Friedman's The World is Flat. Thanks to my principal, our school obtained 2 copies and we are going to read it at the same time and share thoughts. I am also going to be reflecting about what I read and post my thoughts about the book here. This will be a professional learning goal for me - independent study, reflection and hopefully collaboration with other educators. I am excited!