I’m telling you for the last time

Stealing a title for a certain comedian's performance, I wish this would be the last time but I know it won't.

If you asked anyone who's ever presented at a conference about web 2.0, Read/Write Web or whatever you want to call it, they will tell that the most common type of question or comment from teachers goes something like this:

 

 

 

 

"Yah, but what about posting kids pictures online? Aren't you concerned about their safety?"

This question can often bring an important conversation about learning to a grinding halt. As tired as I am of addressing this issue, I realize it will continue to be an issue until we hammer the research and facts at people at a relentless pace. Well that's one way to handle it anyway. I also realize I work in a school district that has a very enlightened view of this thanks to the work of many teachers who have been doing cool and important things with kids for a while now, but I'm still frustrated with the lack of knowledge folks have about this issue and the influence of traditional media that fosters the endless and needless hysteria. This is … Read the rest

Presentations are almost too easy

Today I made 2 presentations entitled “Are you Published?” for Showcase 2008.  You can get all the details including the slidedeck and the video (posted below, so if you’re planning to attend this session on Tuesday, this may or may do it for you). In most cases, I rarely walk alone, whether it’s a pre-call out for ideas or links, or live appearances, I have a plethora of resources that I can tap into anytime. Today was no different.

I invited Will to return the favour (btw Will, you still owe me a few more appearances) and share some ideas (about the 14 minute mark) about publishing which sparked some great discussion and questions. So he gets in from sledding with his kids and chats with us for about 10 minutes. I carry on. Then David Warlick watches via Ustream and at just the right moment (35 minute mark), skypes in to share his thoughts on Lulu.com ( I had asked David earlier so it wasn’t a purely random interruption). So I went to the back of the room, grabbed a water and allowed David and Will to do their thing.  It’s been said often, that the … Read the rest

The tale of two PD sessions

Today I did 9 hours of Professional Development. My 60 minute drive began by listening to a great podcast with Jon Udell interviewing Gardner Campbell. Worth a listen. The morning and afternoon I spent showing about 25 teachers how to use Joomla to manage their websites. Pretty traditional PD. Lots of step by step technical support. Necessary but pretty boring. I did get to speak to 100 teachers in Grand Rapids during one of Will’s talks. That was the highlight of my day to that point.

After that I drove an hour south to the tiny community of Bengough where Peter Bell and many of his staff invited me to talk about “things Web 2.0”. I was careful to this to their stories, figure out where they were at and go from there. Peter had bought everyone a webcam and headset (he loves Skype) and so they were quite excited with their shiny new tools. I had no intention but realized I needed to leverage those tools somewhat. So I fired up a Ustream show.

With a quick tweet I had up to 23 viewers (there may have been more but I wasn’t always checking) and some pretty … Read the rest

Shifted Learning and Important Conversations

I had two interesting and challenging experiences the last couple of days. Experiences that cause me to consider my approach to supporting teachers and students.

Assiniboia New BloggersI met with a small group of high school teachers who wanted to learn more about Web 2.0 and what they might be able to use in their classrooms. I was fully prepared to spend the day showing demos, and working through the technical issues of setting up a blog, wiki or whatever they wanted.What happened instead is we spent the first part of the morning grappling with the big questions of why. Why would we post students online? Why does it feel like asking us to change means that our current practice is all wrong? If this is so important, why aren’t we given time to explore and make change? To be clear, this group of teachers was not simply complaining or naysaying. They just wanted to be convinced and sure that investing time to use these tools would pay dividends. I’ve been telling teachers lately that if they have any hesitation, they shouldn’t bother to blog or use any tool because all it will do is add to the many “binders of guilt” … Read the rest