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mapowell
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"Now, I can defend my reasoning right well in most situations/conversations, but playing defense all the time just plain gets old. What's most discouraging is that I always feel like I'm the least respected person in every conversation only because everyone thinks they know exactly what it is that I do. It's that transparency thing again---We don't often respect something that we believe we understand. Does this make any sense?" Yes, Bill, it does. It is not my goal to be the most brilliant person in the conversation, or in the school. As a matter of fact, I think some people are intimidated simply by the fact that I keep trying new things. Most of the time they work, sometimes they fail. And to be honest, every single time a kids spaces off in class, I wonder if I just 'don't get it, somehow.' Then I think of personal responsibility and I come full circle...maybe the student just doesn't get it. In any case, on a bad day in the classroom, on a bad day in an in-service, on an ordinary day in the world, it is easier to be be ordinary than it is to be Superman. But the glasses won't work forever, the hiatus will be over, and it is back to thinking about what is best for the kids. Hang in there.
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Russ, Take a look at the comments now and watch the feathers fly. There seems to be a 'missing-the-point' impact going, with parents being blamed, kids being blamed, teachers being blamed and no discussion of the fact that kids are using cell phones, and are not likely to stop using them just because a rule is being posted. Here are some questions I am struggling with in my own classroom: a) if a child forgets to bring pencil and paper to class, but remembers his/her cell phone, what tool will motivate them and allow them to communicate with me? b) if a child has to text a thesis or hypothesis to me, does that mean she/he has not engaged in critical thinking? c) if a child is inappropriately using their cell phone in class, should we AVOID having a discussion about responsibility? What about telling that child, "Please put that away" or "Please put your cell phone on the classoom cell phone daybed so you aren't tempted"? And if a child is sending cyberbullying or nasty pictures, we should DEFINITELY be telling those children about FCC guidelines and possible charges...there was a child in Florida who went to jail for that type of behavior. Let me be clear....I am trying to improve my performance in the classroom with kids. I don't use cell phones every day, but I do message homework assignments to them, I have them take pictures of review materials on a whiteboard---whatever taps their multiple intelligences. And I LOVE the possibilities of podcasting with students--especially gcast.com or hipster.com, all from a phone. Ireport.com can also be a potential use for the future. Argggh, I simply see no way to help people push past the paradigm wall that they keep creating for themselves. The wall is shifting, and the world is shifting, so doesn't education have to keep on moving, too? Maybe I am feeling a little irrelevant today, also...
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I am simply focusing on the cell phones in my classroom at this time. The more I use them, the more I need them...texting data, podcasts, a cheap alternative to clickers, etc. I was seriously disappointed to see HF 271 enter the Iowa Legislature, proposing a ban on cell phones in school facilities. I think I am becoming a Libertarian, but let me have more local control and less regulatory worry. I like the netbook idea. I have watched several schools try the one student-one laptop concept in Eastern Iowa, and without tech support, it quickly becomes overwhelming for the Districts.
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There is a difference between online learning and QUALITY online learning. I am not really impressed with many of the tools I have seen, but the Iowa Learning Online community has really pushed the envelope towards constructivist opportunities and differentiated opportunities for students online. I would also like to take a look at the VPL items outlined above. How do we match the needs of our students with a statewide delivery system that is effective and focused on 21st century skills. As we sell the ICN system (yes, it is outdated), that fiber will be helpful, but what will it do to the monthly costs of the uplink for schools and governments? I guess I thought that the reason it was still state-funded was the bargain cost of bandwidth.
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Fabulous ideas, but I think that doing that for each classroom is ridiculous. Really. I love technology, I integrate it every chance I get. I have computers in my room, I use my elmo, and I can't live without a projector. My students text me regularly, some twitter with me, I require that hypotheses and summaries be sent to me by SMS. Many teachers think I am nuts. Here's the problem. Many, many teachers view technology as an add-on, and getting it to an integration is a paradigm shift. Loading a school with technology is the last step in a journey. Show me the technology professional development that will push through the wall of reticence held by scared teachers first...make it a district goal and FUND it. Then, let them pick and choose what they need and hold them accountable for using it. On a building level, budget for a 5 year roll-out of tech and wire the building with 9 drops a room, a ceiling plate for a projector, wireless access points (not just dumb hubs). Frankly, at the end of five years, I expect that projectors and elmos will still be critical, but I wonder if the drops, the docking stations, will all be outmoded by handheld devices like the iPOD for everything but paper and report creation. The hard part of this scenario? One, I am preaching to the choir by posting on this blog. Two, its easier to fund capital expenses out of PPEL funding than it is to fund PD, which is a general fund expense. Looking forward to comments....
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