Tuesday, March 27, 2007

How my achievements mock me!

How my achievements mock me!

William Shakespeare
, Troilus and Cressida, Act IV Greatest English dramatist & poet (1564 - 1616)

I came across this quote going through my Google Reader and it got me thinking a bit, as all good quotes should. With all this talk of getting more educators to buy into the whole Web 2.0 thing and have more educators believe that the time has come to rethink the way in which we educate our young I can't help but to look at this quote and feel mocked. I am an advocate for the shift and I know that whether or not I believe in the the ways in which our students' needs are changing, they are changing. The mocking I feel though is not so much from the achievements, but from the sheer multitude of them almost at once.

Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three

decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good.
Thomas Sowell, Is Reality Optional?, 1993

(1930 - )

Not to use too many of these, but it has all been said before. The mocking of which I speak comes from the resistance, The resistance to the movement if you will. The people we debate with every day that see it as a phase. This too shall pass.

I have been having a hard time getting people to use the blog I have set up for professional development purposes. A few have signed on, but seem reluctant to post comments and really get involved in the discussions. I would love to get the wiki I created for the same purpose up and running, but sometimes it feels as if I am in the blogosphere all alone.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Losing your focus

I admit it- I lost my way today. In fact these last few weeks have taken me pretty far off course. Farther then I would like to admit even to myself. It's been one of those weeks that try even the toughest. One thing after another, after another- you get the point. Some monumental, some mundane, but all important in the moment. Some have gone away, some have not and some have taken a brief hiatus until they choose to show up again. I am a reflective person by nature so I have tried to save a little time each day to sit and think and recharge. Great in theory, unrealistic sometimes in practice.

The common thread, though, through all of this has been flexibility. I was taught that it was the acceptable "F" word in education and I like to think that I am and always have been very flexible. So without going into the gory details, which I am sure by comparison are old news, I am happy to say that I did find my way back to the main road today in the most unlikely place; the lost and found box. I was leaving school today and I noticed a student by the big plastic abyss of lost and not yet found items, and I stopped to say hello. Turns out he was looking for an item of some monumental importance, I learned a long time ago that everything is of monumental importance to the person telling you about it, so I helped him look. It was 5:30 in the afternoon and I had been at school since 7:00 that morning, but I stopped anyway. He was looking for a make-up kit. Instead of question him about the nature of the item I posed a different question. I asked him when he lost the make-up kit. He said it wasn't his (much to my relief) but his sister's. He went on to say that she lost it three month ago, just after getting it for Christmas, and he looks for it everyday. Even though his sister has chalked it up as lost forever, he has not lost hope because it will make her very happy if he finds it.

This experience taught me two things:

  1. This is what it is all about. Not state testing, not irate parents, not irate teachers, not bell schedules or parking problems or bus write-ups or even next year's master schedule. It is about the kids!! Period!! Jim (we will call him Jim) didn't have a care in the world at that moment in time except for finding the thing that would make his sister happy. It is my job then to encourage that good character and do everything in my power to keep him from losing that empathy and human compassion.
  2. That there is hope. Don't chalk something up as lost just because it doesn't show up the first 20 times you look for it. Persevere and only good things will happen.
I am thinking about buying Jim a new make-up kit (if I can explain that one to my wife) but I don't think that it would mean as must to him as finding what he's been looking for.

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Friday, March 9, 2007

New ways to meet and greet...

I have been extremely busy as of late. These are busy and stressful months for all educators and this year has been particularly exhausting. I find myself bringing home more and more work and it is becoming increasingly difficult to find the energy in which to finish it all. There is never enough time during the day and when I get home I truly want to be able to relax and refresh and enjoy my 3-year old.

What is making things even more stressful lately is that I feel as if there is never enough time to concentrate on things that are truly important and exciting at work, like working with teachers and students to think about learning and curriculum and how it all fits together along with technology. I love finding new ways to use technology, most of the time to make things easier to tackle and sometimes just to have fun and acknowledge my "inner techie."

I know it sounds as if I am venting here, and maybe I am a little, but I do have a point. I know I am not the only one feeling this way and I can't help but wonder if I can just chalk it up to the busy time of year. I can't help but think that education is really being given a complete overhaul and what I am feeling are growing pains. I just watched a short video clip that was posted on Ideas and Thoughts from an EdTech -entitled Virtual Worlds, Real People. I watched the video of a gentlemen with cerebral palsy who created Wheelies in Second Life a virtual world in which people can live and play.

The video got me thinking of the idea of a virtual reality for people who do not enjoy the reality we take for granted. This really wasn't what I needed, one more thing to chew on, but it really made me think about what sites like this one can do for education. I started to look around on the site and the business and education tab caught my attention.

Second Life is an exciting new venue for collaboration, training, distance learning, new media studies and marketing.

Hold a virtual meeting with your sales managers located in Europe and Asia. You can present the new sales initiatives and discuss them with your team real-time.

This, to me is amazing. Is it the answer we all are looking for to put more hours into the day? Probably not, but it is a great way to collaborate in a way that we have really only seen in the movies.

Just something else to add to the growing list of possibilities.