Jul 23, 2010

The Networked Teacher

How is your PLN developing?

Here is an image of the networked teacher, posted by Alec Courosa on Flickr:

Jul 18, 2010

D.I. with Web 2.0!

Here are some of my favorite 2.0 tools (made with tagxedo):

Here is a "Prezi" presentation made by Joseph Alvarado on Differentiating Instruction with Web 2.0.

Here are some more links that I found on google docs which help us think of new ways to differentiate instruction with 2.0:

"The Best of the Best by Edudemic":

What are your favorite 2.0 literacies?

Jul 11, 2010

We r connected!

“We are rising up in an understanding of our world, one that is connected” (Roche, 2010).

I bought an iphone a couple of months ago and most recently tried to update it with my computer and my iphone crashed. It completely stopped working. I use my iphone to connect with my “global community,” 24/7. When I am shopping, having coffee, or on my way to work, I have the capability to google my inquiries, check my twitter and facebook communities and text my friends. My G3 iphone connects me to my world in many ways. What was I going to do without it? It is part of me.

While I was listening to Senator Roche talk about how there is a development of a global conscience and how we need to create a culture of peace, I wondered how the internet has helped us in becoming more connected to the global community. Web 2.0 is pretty powerful. Web 2.0 is the second generation of web development, and it is what the internet is today . There are many Web 2.0 literacies that enable users to collaborate, create and engage with knowledge. The literacies include blogs, glogs, vlogs, podcasts, social bookmarking and social networking. I belong to all kinds of communities online. Is it possible that the communities online can create peace and develop global conscience?

One 2.0 tool that has made the world a little smaller is youtube. Youtube is a place where you can collaborate and share ideas through video. I learned to play the violin through my youtube network. I connected with experts, watched videos and asked lots of questions in this space. Youtube can be even more powerful than that. It can unite millions of total strangers in unique ways. I remember a few years ago, there was a massive pillow fight publicized on youtube. This global
pillow fight is an action thought up by artists Richard Maddalena and Kate Buckley and it has become an annual event (Equanimity, 2007). People from around the world including Israel, Chicago, and Buenos Aires all participate with their fluffy pillows and relive childhood moments that unite people in laughter and fluff!

Then there are social activist platforms that you can easily join to create a better world such as Earth Hour. Earth Hour started in 2007 to protest against climate change. Over 2.2 million people in Australia turned their lights off for an hour. This became a global action and in 2009 over 4000 cities in 88 countries turned off their lights for an hour. This was the largest global climate change initiative and by 2010 over 128 countries joined (Earth Hour, 2010). You can watch the amazing 2010 Earth Hour video at Earth Hour.

People around the world are able to gather around different media to collaborate, discuss and engage in things that matter to them. Even my Grade One class. My Grade One class, in rural Rocky Mountain House, collaborated with their global peers using many 2.0 literacies. They learned different ways that they belong in their world. They skyped with a Grade One classroom in Ontario, made wordles and podcasts for a class in Edmonton, connected through their wiki to create community stories with classrooms around Alberta and they blogged for the world. Every time someone visited their blog, they would use google earth and google to learn about the community. At five and six years old, these students have begun to develop an understanding of the world out there and started to create their global relationships and responsibilities in their world. I certainly agree with Senator Roche when he said that we have an "obligation and opportunity to reach out" and a responsibility (Roche, 2010). How do you reach out?

Jul 7, 2010

A real 2.0 gem!

Is this not the coolest wordle? I thought imagechef was great, until I came across this 2.0 tool last weekend. It is called tagxedo and being a 2.0 tool, it is incredibly easy to use. What I love about it, is that you can upload an image and add the words from any webpage simply by adding the URL (uniform resource locator, or website address). Why did I choose this particular image of Ghandi and a website about Ghandi for this post?

I am learning about Ghandi in a summer institute and have learned that Ghandi went to school to become a lawyer and went to South Africa to work and while he was there, he faced “blatant racism and discrimination” and began to advocate for civil rights and even became a leader of a political movement against racial discrimination (Burke, 2000). He did not believe in modernization, perhaps because society values “horse power” rather than “man power” (Dharmadhikari, 2003). Independence, autonomy, self sufficiency and self-reliance were characteristics of a society that Ghandi strived for and believed that an education reflects a society’s fundamental assumptions about itself and the individuals which compose it (Burke, 2000). Here, the education of powerful learning experiences is essential, since current experiences will shape future experiences. Dewey stated that the quality of the educational experience has an immediate effect and long term effect since they “promote having desirable future experiences” (Dewey, 1938). (Dewey, 1938).

Bringing this back to my present experiences and inquiring how online communities can impact education and learning, I began to think deeply about communities and the ones that I belong to. Therefore, in understanding our own individual stories, reflecting on them and sharing them, I believe, we can create a world of peace. Can peace be created through online communities?

Communities develop as people develop relationships and have a common vision and purpose (Vanier, 1998). My story of becoming part of communities online started with discussion forums where I would discuss books I was reading. From there I discovered messenger and IRC (internet relay chat) where I would join chat rooms to discuss books in real time. That fascinated me. Then I explored more social networks including the world renowned Facebook. I expanded my social networks and became a part of a community of learners on Twitter, Delicious, Diigo, all spaces where I get to explore, collaborate and discuss. The people that I connect with online, are all part of my personal learning network.

And back to my tagxedo of Ghandi. How did I learn about tagxedo? I found it through Diigo, which is one of my online personal learning networks. The ISTE conference was on the weekend and I was wishing that I was there. So I popped onto to twitter to see what people were saying about the conference. From the sounds of it, the coolest part of this conference is when people share some tools that they use in the classroom. I have to thank my PLN for posting the many tools and for sharing the wiki from the conference through the social bookmarking site, diigo. Here is ISTE 2010 unplugged, where you can "attend," even though it was last weekend!

Jul 4, 2010

Inquiring into myself as a curriculum maker of community

"Persistent questioning and healthy inquisitiveness are the first requisite of learning of any kind" (Ghandi).

I have begun my final master's course this evening. It is a pretty intriguing course titled, "Building Peaceful Communities." Throughout this course, we are inquiring into how we are curriculum makers of community.

For our first meeting, we were asked to bring an artifact that represents who we are. I chose a few special artifacts that I think represents me and is reflective of where I am from and where I am going.

First, is my mini sculpture of Rodin's, "The Thinker," who is meditating. I love this sculpture. It reminds me that when learning anything, we need to be reflective. Through deep reflection comes growth. In front of "The Thinker," I placed an open hand.

I found the hand a few months ago and when I first saw it, I instantly thought of community and being part of a community. To me, the open hand is symbolic of opportunity, peace, openness and connectedness. Both sculptures, "The Thinker" and the open hand, did not seem enough to tell my story. So I added a couple more artifacts to share who I am.

Resting in the palm of the hand are five rocks which represent my past and present. I collected these rocks when I lived up North in an isolated community and went to town about once a month. I looked forward to buying a special rock each time I went. When looking closely, the rocks each contain a word: peace, hope, joy, faith and belief. Rocks seemed very fitting to me because in my teaching journey, I have now returned back home to the town of Rocky. I would like to find a rock with the word "blessed" on it.

As I looked at my rocks in the hand, it still did not seem complete to me. Something that I carry with me is a little heart that was given to me many years ago, which to me, symbolizes my love for teaching and the heart of the child.

Since this is my final course, I needed one more artifact representing my journey through my masters program. My focus for my masters has been on 21st Century literacies and I have been working to understand the digital world, since our student are growing up in a digital landscape. So, for my final artifact, I chose my iphone because it is symbolic of my portable connection to my global community. I am able to connect in an instant to the 3G anytime, anywhere.

As I consider the gems that I hold in my hand when I go out into the world each day, I wonder how these beliefs shape community?