In a recent post, Stephanie Sandifer
challenged bloggers to ask themselves:
Here is my response:
What? (…is going on with our work, with our blogging, with our exploration… OR …new tools are we discovering, playing with, trying to find classroom uses for?)
So What? (Who cares? Why is this important? Why is this not important? What does it matter? Will it ever matter?)
Now What? (What do we do NEXT? What kind of gameplan do we need? Do we need a game plan? Do we collaborate, start over from scratch, quit doing whatever we are doing altogether, or disappear somewhere deep in Second Life? Seriously — WHAT NOW?)
I'm becoming more comfortable with Twitter, was a bit intimidated by the rapid pace of the Fireside Chat (but plan to dive headfirst in to the K12 Online Conference offerings), have experimented with ToonDoo, Animoto, Voki, wikis and nings. Can't live without Google Docs and Google Reader, TinyURl, Flickr, and my own two blogs (Journeys and A Hundred Echoes). Most of the above are blocked where I teach, but, depending on the circumstances, I am able to have the IT unblock them for class use. I try out tools I see mentioned in the blogs I read, with varying levels of success.
Ah, there's the rub! I care very deeply about my responsibilities as a Teacher/Librarian. The kids in my district live a relatively sheltered life (due to location, not income levels) and I want to broaden their horizons. I spend my free time blogging and attempting to keep current on emerging technologies; if I'm no expert, at least I'm aware of the possibilities.
Our administrators and BOE support the concept of preparing our students for the 21st century world that they'll inhabit, but theory has not yet translated into practice. Professional development is still a top down model with isolated training and little follow-up. Most of the teachers are struggling to meet mandates and prepare classes for standardized testing and show no interest in the new skills I'd like to share with them. Tech resources are unreliable and spread too thin. I do what I can on a student by student basis, but we're failing these kids as a group.
I learn because I love to; I'll continue in this mode into retirement and beyond.
My Currents Events class only has nine students, but as we get rolling on some tech-enhanced projects, we may be able to generate some positive buzz and create a demand for similar courses next year.
I've been seeking out teachers for some impromptu collaborative planning, trying to expand my boundaries beyond the library's physical space. There are one or two teachers who are at least open to suggestion as far as technology goes. If I can show them tools to make their life easier and their classes more interesting, I may be able to make a few converts.
I'm getting close to retirement. I hope to expand my part-time online job and maybe even return to my school as a consultant or volunteer. I don't think I'll ever stop blogging, since it links me to a community much richer and more diverse than any other professional group I've encountered. I want to learn and share what I've learned. I want to explore and experiment and have fun doing it.
Thanks to Patrick Higgins for pointing me to Stephanie's posting.
"The real object of education is to have a man in the condition of continually asking questions."-Mandell Creighton
"Puzzle BomBoy" by Zedwee