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Monthly Archives: July 2008

At KIPP Summit I talked a lot about VoiceThread, and threw out several ideas for ways to use it in your classroom. I just discovered a fabulous wiki created by Colette Cassinelli, an educator in Oregon, that collects a whole bunch of ideas for VoiceThread to be used in different classrooms. Check it out!


Blogging from an iPhone… This might change my life.

I’m sitting here in Travis C where Kim and I have presented for the past two days, thinking about all that’s happened so far. I can’t explain to you the drastic shift I’ve seen this year in terms of technology and KIPP. In order to attempt an explanation, it helps to think back on my first and second years at the Summit.

The first year in New Orleans I was just beginning my first year of teaching, and was placed in a tech position. I desperately looked through the event calendar hoping to find sessions giving me something (anything really) to work with. I had no idea what I was doing and desperately wanted resources from more experienced tech teachers. By the end of the week I had found ONE other tech teacher. And not a single tech session.

Fast forward to year two in Phoenix. There I sat through two Bus-Ops sessions only because they had the word technology in the title. Turns out they had nothing to do with teaching or my classroom. Beyond that there was nothing. I met two other tech teachers, and also lucked out with meeting up with Ignacio that year, which gave me someone willing to indulge me in my growing excitement about Technology and KIPP.

Now here we are, year three, in San Antonio. While no longer teaching at GCP, my vision for KIPP and how technology needs to play a role hasn’t changed. The planning team this year for Summit is incredible, and was super receptive to our ideas for Tech workshops. As a result we got to present four tech workshops, and there are two more on the agenda for later in the week. There’s a tech roundtable tomorrow, and I’ve met over 10 tech teachers/facilitators! While I’m still overwhelmed by what needs to be done, through teaching I’ve also learned the importance of recognizing growth to be as significant as achievement.

And boy are we growing 🙂

An example of what resumes could begin to look like…

Christopher Penn, the Chief Technology Officer of the Student Loan Network, has posted online what could be the resume of the future. This interactive, online resume, includes a video introduction embedded in the center of the page (which I’ve embedded below here for you to see), a written introduction below, links to his websites and blogs on the left side as well as all the ways to contact him on the right (including AIM, Skype, and Twitter).

This could completely revolutionize the way our students find jobs in the future, as well as the importance of their digital footprint. I’m totally intrigued… there go the next couple days of my life as I begin to piece together my own 🙂

As I’ve been working more on my workshops for this year’s KIPP Summit in San Antonio I’ve found myself involved in a lot of big-picture thinking. The workshops focus more on tangible, daily ways to integrate more technology in our rooms and schools. But like any great lesson, the most important take-away has to be the WHY. Why should we take the time to figure out this technology, and learn all the skills we need to effectively implement it in our rooms?

So through all this thinking I’ve narrowed it down to three big WHYS. Here they are:

1. Are our classrooms right now preparing our kids for what their future will really look like, or what we’re used to it looking like?

The truth is we are teaching our kids for jobs that don’t even exist yet. The careers they lead 20 years from now will look entirely different from what ours look like. We aren’t servicing them if we’re preparing them for what we’re used to and not for what they will actually face. Instead of memorization of facts, we need to transition our classrooms to focus more on their ability to ingest and digest information critically, and their ability to publish and create. With the growth of Web 2.0 anyone can publish, and those who don’t learn how to will quickly fall behind.

2. Our kids are already using a ton of technology outside of school (cell phones, video games, internet), so who’s explicitly teaching them how to use them safely and responsibly? Are we modeling for them what it looks like to use Web 2.0 for learning and communicating? Are we showing them what a great MySpace profiel looks like, and what kinds of groups can be created for learning rather than just socializing? Are we creating lessons for how to keep themselves safe while navigating the Internet? Are we teaching them how permanent and damaging Internet footprints can become if we don’t think ahead while creating them?

If we don’t clearly and explicitly plan units around these ideas, and daily lessons checking to make sure they understand, we are not preparing them for successful professional careers that use these tools to their advantage rather than their detrament.

3. Like I said in point two (and many educators are saying everywhere) , kids are using all these tools at home. My last point would be to question WHICH kids are using these tools at home? I can tell you my students without computers or the Internet are certainly not using them at home. So where and when are they exposed to this technology? If not at school, who will teach them how to use it? It worries me that by ignoring these skills in our classrooms we are just creating an even larger divide between the students who have and those who don’t.