17 Jun

Smartphones in the Classroom?

I had a "teacher dream" last night. For those of you who are teachers, I'm sure you know what I mean. For those who are not, every teacher I have ever met has a version of this kind of dream. They basically dream about being back in school. The profession is such that many really don't stop thinking about it, even when they're asleep. Last night's dream was different. I was still the teacher, still in front of the classroom, but while many of my "teacher dreams" have been riddled with anxiety (I'm late for class, I have forgotten what I was going to teach etc), this one was a great dream. It was the first day of school and we were introducing ourselves. I went last and we were laughing and sharing. A student asked me a question (my academic history was a bit boring for them), and I didn't know the answer. It wasn't related to our subject, it was about an obscure comic from my old university, so I asked who had their phones with them. The students froze. I think they thought I was going to confiscate them. I smiled and pulled mine out, noting that it's faster to look the information up on my phone than it would be to wait for the ancient computer in the corner to boot up. The students were relieved and one student at the front found the information faster than I could. Class continued and I woke up.

When I go back into my classroom, I will have that freedom. My school board has lifted their ban on cell phones in the school.I'll be able to use the technology that my students already have to engage them, to take

14 Jun

#K12Media

When I first logged on to Twitter in 2008, I thought it might be a fun way to connect with other parents. I never dreamed that I would get as much out of it as I did. A few months ago, I began anew with Twitter, this time in a professional capacity. Once more, I was amazed at the connections and resources that I have made and discovered with this useful service. I began participating in #Edchat. If you haven't yet heard about it, and you are involved in education, check it out. It is an overwhelmingly large conversation about education. Each week, a poll determines the topic to be discussed, voted on by participants. The sheer volume of tweets every Tuesday from 12-1pm EST and 7-8pm EST is mind-boggling. More than that, I find it inspiring to see a new venue for passionate discussion of our shared profession. Twitter has allowed teachers to reach out beyond their departments and schools, to expand their professional networks across the globe.

13 Jun

Media Literacy in the UK

Thanks to the Media Education Association's twitterfeed, this report came to my attention this morning. Sonia Livingstone and Yinhan Wang of the London School of Economics and Political Science describe the state of Media Literacy in the UK. The report states that while initial efforts to promote Media Literacy and Media Education were successful, the progress of that success has stalled and in some cases,dropped off. It highlights areas of particular concern to Media Educators:

  • Fewer children check the reliability of websites than adults. (6)
  • Children are taught about the internet, but their learning about television lags, even though it is still an important source of information. (8)
  • "Children should be made to feel confident in their skills and abilities to create." (8)

They assert that:

09 Jun

Technical Difficulties

We have experienced some technical difficulties with the blog, and in the next week they will finally be resolved. Upcoming changes include:

Comments: We would love to hear from you, and soon you will be able to comment without having to login to the site. 

More Resources: We're working on setting up a weekly column and a Twitter chat for teachers.

And many more. We have great things planned for the summer so please check back and thank you for your patience!

 

28 Apr

Reimagining Education

I watched this wonderful TED Talk tonight and I had to share it. Sir Ken Robinson argues that we are educating children out of their creativity. I admit that this thought had crossed my mind (if less eloquently). I am eager to read his book. It is next on my list (and my list is long, so it might be a while). In the meantime, I'll likely just watch the video over and over. It gave me so much to think about and I hope you have the same experience.