Wednesday, September 28, 2011

1000 Tweets with more to come

Hard to believe, 1000 tweets. This post is a reflection on Twitter becoming an integral part of my professional development life.  In fact, I am amazed that more educators aren't utilizing it for their benefit.
When I first started Twitter, I was a lurker and I really didn't understand the buzz. However, as I followed the more like minded educators, it became crystal clear. Twitter provides me a connection with teachers and administrators from all over the world.
Whether it be Patrick Larkin @bhsprincipal, Eric Sheninger @nmhsprincipal, Scott McLeod @mcleod, Steven Anderson @web20classroom,  Lyn Hilt @L_Hilt, Vicki Davis @coolcatteacher or any of the others members of my PLN, they inspire me constantly by their tweets and insights to the 21st century.
From them, I learn new techniques for classroom activities(lesson plans), technology(cell phones, Ipads, Ipods and netbooks) and current trends in education(1:1 laptop initiatives, four day school weeks etc.). Simply put, I am more knowledgeable and effective because I can connect with others who share similar passions.
I know Twitter from time to time is misunderstood by many as a "why do I need that" type of gadget, but I find it more beneficial each and every day.  The conversation is productive and thought provoking allowing collaborative learning to occur.
It's the 21st century, we are in this together. Why limit your students to just what you know, bring them the wealth of resources available to you through Twitter. Here's hoping my next thousand tweets are just as inspiring.

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Different Summer Part II

This is Part II of a post I published earlier.
Once again it's different not being affiliated with a school at this time of year. Instead of student schedules and greeting teachers and parents, my mind is more towards carpool line for my son and searching for jobs.
There has been little movement on the job front in quite a while so necessity must bring  forth creativity, I'm going in a different direction.
I am "working" as an educational consultant and trainer. I have done this with my PLU classes on a part time basis in the past but now it will be full time. Two characteristics are necessary to being a consultant; experience in a wide range of areas and an ability to want to share what you know with others. Check and double check on both those.
This would include professional learning classes dealing with curriculum, technology integration, discipline and accreditation issues. I would tailor my presentations to the needs of the schools. Need me to lead a class after school, I'm there, a Saturday class ditto. Speak to parents as an outside resource, can do.
I know there is a need for what I can deliver but in this economic and educational (20th century) climate, the question will be can I find those willing to step forward and allow me to share with their teachers?

Needless to say. I enter this world with some trepidation but I am a glass half full type of person. I've reinvented myself several times during my career, from coach to administrator to head of school to curriculum leader to professional development trainer to middle school principal to elementary principal to technology. Hopefully this is just another change for the best.
I continue to be encouraged by friends wishing me well as I embark on this new adventure. That continual presence of genuine support is what sustains me through the occasional dark day. I don't say this to them nearly enough but to take a phrase from Angela Maiers  "you matter in my life" and I'm forever grateful.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Diigo Links of Interest

Another set of my Diigo links I thought you might enjoy!!
The best video resource for all subjects

Glogster keeps getting better!!

Chemistry resources

Interactive US Constitution Games and Lessons

Online Flat Stanley Project

Great video on the meaning of 7 Billion

Enjoy these resources!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Professional Learning in the 21st Century

I saw this picture listening to a presentation by Lyn Hilt one Saturday at the Reform Symposium. I must confess I've taken professional development classes throughout my 34 years that resemble this quote .I've also been teaching PLU classes for the lat 5or 6 years on a number of topics so I see both sides of the coin.
When I first started teaching the classes,  it was pretty much me being the sage on the stage, redelivering material I had learned earlier. Ten to twenty contact hours, mostly lecture but always some intriguing discussions. It was enjoyable, we learned and the PLU certificate certainly helped, but how much of the learning actually transferred to the classroom?  My observation was- not enough.
Over the last two years, I have tailored my classes more towards technology and 21st century tools. My classes have become more hands on and experiential. From the feedback I've received, they are more enjoyable and learning actually occurs. We have discussions, I still lecture but it's more to initiate thinking about what we do in the classroom and why. Educators should always be able to question the rationale of what is done in the classroom. The answer of we've always done it this way isn't acceptable.
I've also noticed a more consistent transfer of learning to the classroom. Blogs, wikis and other 21st century tools are actually utilized by a larger number of my colleagues than before. There are still those that just want the certificate and what they learn disappears or is relegated to the back burner, but I'm proud to call the others active and contributing members of my PLN of 21st century learners.
The point remains if you learn better by hands on and experiential activities your students will too. We cannot expect student engagement if this poster exemplifies our student's thoughts toward our instruction.

Mr. Gerry Kosater

There are two paths you can choose but there's always time to change the one you choose