What? So What? Now What?

In response to Stephanie's recent post asking that edubloggers take a break to reflect on what we are doing, why we are doing it, and what outcomes we think may come from the work we are doing... here are my thoughts....

What is going on with my work? Well, I feel like I have learned more in the last six months than I learned in my entire master degree program. My professional development is becoming not only whatever a "next step" is for me...but a step into the future...integrating 21st century skills into all I do. I am blogging professionally and in the classes I teach. I am teaching students, teachers and administrators how to start their own blogs. By reading blogs, I am learning how to use tools like slide, bubbleshare, rockyou, voicethread, clipmarks and sketchcast. I can find a classroom use for just about anything I find!

So What? Who cares? My students definitely care. They can't wait for their turn to blog or record a voicethread. They go home and try these things on their own without my prompting. My parents care because they are getting real time access into what is going on in their child's classroom. My colleagues care because they are learning as I evangalize about learning 2.0. I have always said that if I don't think something is going to make a big impact on my students (whether they be kids or adults) then I should question why I am doing it. Will this matter? I think these skills will change the way my students think about learning forever. When we broach a new topic they are asking me before I can even tell them, "Can we do this in a voicethread and post it online? Can I be the one to blog about this? Will you take pictures so we can post them?"

Now What? As a teacher, the students are giving me my road map. They are leading me in ways I never considered. When I show them something I learned how to do, they don't just want to know how to do it...but also how I even thought to learn that...or where I found it online. I decided that I would do a before school tutoring session for students that wanted to extend their learning into technology outside of what we were working on in class. What is up for the first lesson? My kids have started their own blogs at home and want to know how to change sizes of widgets, how to change layout, etc. Lesson 1: Tweaking html . For me, the "now what" is twitter. I am following the people that are on the cutting edge of educational technology and learning about what they are learning, going "virtually" where they are going and collaborating with colleagues at work about our future. My professional life has always been inspired by something I am reading or doing, but now I am invigorated with a passion for learning and applying what I learn.


I couldn't agree with you more about your progress over the last 6 months. Because of my ever expanding network of teachers, learning is always "just in time," and whenever I want it. No longer do I have to wait for a class period to have dialogue about a topic, I can do that on demand.

When teachers ask me about how to keep up with all that is going on, I often joke that I have a very understanding wife, which I do, but in actuality, the greatest thing I have learned is how to sharpen my filter. Posts like Stephanie's that call for this type of reflection help in that regard. We need to ask ourselves not about the coolest tools, but more about the pedagogical benefits of them.

Great post.

Simon said...

Well done you!
I find that I want to learn more, my students, with their level of access want to learn more. Just with having 'learning' available 24/7 I thought the novelty would where thin and that the 'you can do it anytime' would mean 'you'd do it never-time' but that's not true, for my kids or for me.