Feedback: A Little Bird Told Me . . .
Twitter: A great tool for connecting and learning, not to mention for fun.
I teach Spanish in high school. Edutopia has become my very favorite source of information for new technology and Web sites -- I recommend it to all of my friends. I just purchased an iPod with the money I earned teaching alternative education, and I love it! I have several podcasts I plan to use for review in class.
King William, Virginia
I completely agree with James Gee on many of the points he made. (Grading with Games: An Interview with James Paul Gee.) In my school in Scotland, we have just used the game Guitar Hero as a successful context for learning. The game helped improve the transition from primary to secondary education, and the project was hugely successful. For more information, see my blog.
A Little Bird Told Me . . .
The Edutopia.org article "Twittering, Not Frittering: Professional Development in 140 Characters" is a marvelous overview of Twitter. I find it so interesting that many of the complaints about Twitter are also the complaints we heard about blogging when I got involved with it in 2005. It's all about whom one connects to -- it makes life interesting, helps one find instant answers to questions, and is a great tool. I'm also using Plurk now, but for different reasons than I use Twitter -- I think it will also emerge as a powerful microblogging tool.
I follow nearly one hundred educators on Twitter, and I have learned more about my craft this summer than during any previous summer. I follow links recommended by fellow Twitterers, I go to their blogs (if they have one), and I go to professional sites (like Edutopia.org) I never knew existed. I even use Twitter to bounce thoughts around or to get ideas for enriching my lessons. I have gotten a couple of my fellow teachers at school to join the fun, but many teachers are not receptive. I hope to convince them that it's worth the time to meet interesting people from all over the world, if nothing else. Thanks for the great article.
Round Rock, Texas
The Edutopia video Creatively Speaking, Part One: Sir Ken Robinson on the Power of the Imaginative Mind is outstanding and inspirational! This speech has made me think of where my school system works and where it slows down. It made me contemplate how I, as a special education teacher and family therapist working with parents of children in mainstream schools, can promote creativity and the potential every human being possesses.
Emotional and Intelligent
The State of Illinois recognizes the truth of what Linda Lantieri writes in her excellent new book, Building Emotional Intelligence, and shares in the Edutopia.org article Stilling the Mind: An Interview with Linda Lantieri: that social and emotional competence affect learning, and that such competencies can be taught in the general classroom. Illinois has adopted standards for social and emotional learning that specify the skills all schools should help children develop.
Mary Utne O'Brien
I agree with "Full-Service Schools" (August/September 2008). A child's home environment is closely tied to success in school: The better we can help them meet their home needs, the easier it is for them to learn.
As an ethics teacher, I'm a bit distressed that it took educators and psychologists this long to see that character education should be blended with social and emotional learning ("Moral Aptitude: Schools Cultivate the Character Development of their Students," August/September 2008). How did anyone think that you could handle moral decisions through a character-based model and not deal with the social and emotional aspects of the individual?
San Francisco, California
The Edutopia.org article "Overcoming Technology Barriers: How to Innovate Without Extra Money or Support" is well said! I think step 3 is especially critical -- teachers need someone who will support them when trying new tools and techniques.