Looking for a few good mentors

From January to April I'll be teaching a course called ECMP 455. It's an advanced course on using technology in education. Whatever that means. 

Actually what it means is I want my students to dig deep into what teaching and learning looks like in 2012 as great teachers and great ideas come together to make learning better and richer and even transformative. I've taught this particular course 4-5 times now and am really looking forward to this term. I've got some interesting and new ideas planned and I'll share on that later. 

The class is made up of pre-service teachers who are usually in their 3rd or 4th year of teaching and have had some classroom experience. This course is totally optional so they take it because they have an interest in technology and usually have some skill set above the average pre-service teacher. That doesn't mean they are programmers, just that this class doesn't focus much on the "how to" stuff, but more the "why to" stuff. 

One idea that I began a few years back was the virtual mentorship. I connected my students with teachers and classrooms around the world and they did varying degrees of work with those … Read the rest

The anatomy of a Skype call

I respect Gary Stager's opinion. He pushes my thinking. That's what he did for me here:

Why would you Skype someone involved “in the process?” What process? Who? State legislators? What are they likely to tell a student that can’t be found out in a book or article?

The connections you speak of, now matter how much you yearn for them may be as inauthentic as the task itself. Perhaps they just make a task nobody cares about even more arduous. The “you can use Google ____ or Skype with someone” suggestions have become as automatic and meaningless as when a politician says, “We need to pay teachers more, but hold them accountable.”

To be fair, Gary's comments here were about a broader issue and he goes on to discuss it in more detail. For me the striking comment that “skyping someone in” is often a automatic response to trying to demonstrate you have a classroom that “gets it” gave me pause to think. While I applaud teachers who consider this strategy, without thought and purpose it has no more value or impact that asking a parent or principal to randomly come talk to your class.

But today Read the rest

A Call for Teachers

As readers of my blog know, I’ve been teaching part time at the University of Regina for the past few years. I teach an introductory course to pre-service teachers on technology. I’ve had the freedom to more the curriculum to a much more broader look at technology in our schools. It’s been a wonderful experience for me and my students.

Guest appearance by SherylFor the past 3 terms I’ve had my undergrads hook up with classrooms from around the world. Over the course of about 2 months the range of interactions is anything from skype conferences where my students teach lessons to commenting on blogs to working closely with students in collaborative projects. I’m been reluctant to make it much more structured since I want to honor teacher’s time and access. My student’s express a variety of  levels of satisfaction. I usually have the connect with 2 classrooms both to give them some variety but also to insure a greater chance of interactions. Two months is a very short time to build a connection with a class. Amazingly, some of my students made this happen and for many it was the best part of the course.  Others were frustrated by communication … Read the rest

Podcast 41….Dan’s Video Project

Dan Meyer  produced a fantastic 10 episode vodcast over the summer. We discuss his approach, his influences and the challenge of producing high quality, effective video.

Show notes:

Dan’s 10 videos
Ze Frank

David Simon
The WireGraphing Stories
Summer Camp Video

*My feed in itunes is not functioning. The feed validates but itunes says it’s wrong. Any help would be appreciated.… Read the rest

Hey Mr. Shareski, look what we got!

I’ll take these kind of interruptions any day. Working in my office, the familiar Skype chat box sound alerts me to someone wanting my attention. It was Matthew, a grade one student in Kathy’s class. He wanted to chat. This is our conversation:

Matthew:
are teechr sas yes you can cum from Mathew.

Me:
I will come over tomorrow if that’s okay

Matthew:
yes can you cum at 11:00?

Me:
okay, it’s a date!

Matthew:
see you too moro.

Me:
Sorry I can’t come in the morning. It will have to be later in the afternoon or else on Wednesday.

Matthew:
how about 1:20

Me:
That should work. I think my meeting will be finished by then.

Matthew:
OK
do you wont to see wat we havein awr cllas rite nou

Me:
sure

This is what he wanted to show me.

New Laptop

Update: As you can see this was largely a copy and paste job via Skype chat. I inadvertently left the name of the student in the post. Fortunately, Kathy was Johnny-on-the-spot and noticed but decided to check with the parent. The parent was quite happy to have the name left on. Thanks Mom and Dad whoever you are.… Read the rest