I have been working with a few school districts on maximizing their technology's impact, and the issue of student security and privacy often comes up. This blog entry is meant as material for discussion, and my comments or thoughts are not intended to serve as legal advice in any way.
Darren Draper, a technology specialist in Utah's Jordan School District, was getting ready to offer a professional-development course last fall about using social software in the classroom. Rather than a traditional sit-and-get workshop, he envisioned a more interactive experience in which teachers would use blogs, wikis, and the other Web 2.0 tools they would be learning about.
A while ago, I had the opportunity to spend some time with a group of young men in Boy Scout Troop 304. They had spent a few weeks getting prepared for a challenging 17-mile bicycle ride from Castroville, Texas, to Lytle, Texas.
Anyone who has spent time in an isolated classroom understands why teacher collaboration makes such good sense. If you don't have time to share ideas or plan projects with colleagues, you miss out on opportunities to grow and learn as a teacher. And your students miss out on something important, too.
Every American educator needs to build and maintain his or her own teacher Web page.
Before you respond with arguments about how many non-Web-paged educators are among the best teachers you know, understand that I'm sure you're right. In fact, I bet many of those nonwired teachers run wonderfully holistic, project-based classrooms where hands-on activities abound and high expectations for all students are the rule rather than the exception.
When I was in elementary school, physical education classes were unmemorable and uninspired. We played dodgeball, kickball -- the usual suspects. During my secondary school years, PE classes often consisted of alpha males dominating the field with headlong, undisciplined aggression while everyone else tried to participate without getting underfoot.
I'd like to share a Web site called LibriVox, which provides free, downloadable audiobooks from the public domain: Users download the audiobooks in MP3 format and listen to them on their computer or copy them onto an MP3 player.
It's no news to anyone here that visual learning plays a critical role in instruction at all levels. Each of us works hard to ensure that we're reaching each learner and that we're employing various modes of presentation and interaction in order to teach in the most efficient and effective way.
I'm not old, but I feel like a fossil when I remember taking a continuing-education course for teachers about computers nearly twenty years ago. Each of us was given one large, thin floppy disk after another, onto which, with guidance from our instructor, we took turns copying various low tech simulations and activities from the classroom's lone personal computer, a primitive and boxy IBM clone.