Archive for February, 2008

Alan November NP Alan November graced us with his presence today in North Platte, Nebraska. It was a pleasure to hear his inspiring words and to enjoy his wonderful wit. I appreciated his approach and the challenges that he gave to us as educators. Some highlights from his presentation include:

Alan shared the idea that when 80% of the population was involved in farming there was a sense of responsibility and children could contribute in a meaningful way in a family or community. Today technology will change 80% of current jobs. Education needs to be about children creating, organizing, and producing, and we should look at technology as learning jobs; essentially, kids need jobs like they used to have on the farm; no, not feeding calves, cleaning stalls, or stacking hay, but meaningful responsibilities – I know you all know this but I’m just addressing the smart alecks. 😉

Alan mentioned some jobs that should exist in our classrooms:

  • Curriculum Review Team
  • Tutorial Creation/Organizing/Design Team
  • Global Communication Team
  • Official Scribes
  • Resource Finders
  • Technical Editors

He recommended teachers, students, and classrooms create custom search engines (See Google Custom Search); that we must connect kids to community; teach web literacy and critical thinking; and use a contributing model that provides for meaningful work, opportunities, products, and learning.

In essence, it is a “return to the farm” – children contributing and collaborating. I grew up on a farm/ranch and I had meaningful work everyday of my life. Our livelihood depended on each person doing his or her job well, and it was vital work indeed. If I was asked to ride a horse through blizzard conditions to pick up a newborn calf it was important that I did so; otherwise, a calf that would eventually be worth as much as $2000 or more dollars would die frozen in the night. Many do not have that kind of responsibility today and that is okay, but without something to be responsible for a child is missing the opportunity to be valued. This should happen at home, but it can be reinforced at school as we help students, young and old, to accept jobs that have value and substance and are meaningful in a young person’s life in today’s busy world. The jobs Alan mentions are simple, but they are important, and we should provide opportunities for students to serve as they learn and learn as they serve.

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Space I thought this picture was great (Click it to see it bigger or go here), and it caused me to reflect on us down here on the good planet earth. I have been quite busy it seems for the past year, and as over 600 articles pile up in my RSS reader, as April 15th looms closer and closer (It is my youngest daughter’s birthday too so I’m excited about that part), and as life seems to zip by at an ever increasing pace it takes a picture from space to give a little bit of perspective from up so high to way down there or here depending upon if you are in the space station or not. If I do have readers on the space station, thanks for stopping by during your busy schedules and I would recommend that you not stop by anymore and just stay focused on your space station duties! 😉

Speaking of time, I have been debating what I could enroll myself in via MIT’s Open Courseware. What a great opportunity, as there are with many universities now. A visit to iTunes U opens up many lessons to be had and learned. That is what I like about this “new” world, it is smaller, flatter, and it is easier to get around. It brings us closer together, if we make time to do so. That is what I need to do: make the time, shape the time, capture the time. A focus on things that matter most is the key. Peace!

Also, go here if you haven’t as of yet (PBS Frontline special “Growing Up Online”).  We really need to address digital citizenship!  Things are happening each day and we need to help young people navigate this digital world.

Alan November I am pleased to have the opportunity to be able to see and hear Alan November when he arrives to visit our school district next week. Alan’s writings have been important and they have influenced me to work to find ways to help students learn and grow. I had the opportunity to attend the Building Learning Communities Conference in Boston last July 2007, and the conference, workshops, and wonderful people I met and conversed with were inspiring. Our little part of the world is moving forward as we look for ways to embed technology in the learning process, and Alan’s influence is a big part in that process. I look forward to Alan’s time here, and I know my colleagues will benefit from what he has to say. My hopes are that his inspiring words will lead to more action. This is a really big deal!!! Can you tell I’m excited!?! 🙂

Next week is also the one year anniversary of when my wife, children and I visited to interview for my position as educational technology specialist and Dianna’s speech-language pathologist position.  If I had been told I would be in the presence of Alan November one year later I  would have thought it was a dream!  What a difference a year makes, and I am so fortunate to have had the experiences I have had over this period of time.  The heart of it all has been the wonderful people I have met and been blessed to work with.  We are in the midst of something great, and as I have had more opportunities to work with students as of late, I know more than ever we are working with precious souls that need our guidance in an ever changing and complicated world.  My fifteen years in public education is such a short period of time, but I have gained a better perspective because of people like Alan November.  I would call it focus, and that is what people like Alan help me to do:  focus on things that are most important and things that matter most!  Working with young people and shaping a better future is what it is all about, and my lens is aimed at doing all that I can to be a positive influence in that noble cause!

Over at the Copy Brighter blog is an enjoyable article titled “Social Media in the 1990s.”  Click on over for a great read, if you are “old” enough to remember what it was like!  What am I saying!!!  🙂

I had four wonderful middle schoolers create a digital story in my presence the past few days. If the video below is blocked: click here to download and view!

Enjoy!!!

Also, the awesome first graders finished their slideshows!!! See the previous post for the updates!!!

Anniversary Last week was the one year anniversary of this fledgling blog that has become a wonderful personal resource and has seemed to help a few people along the way. It seems that life has been so very busy as of late that it is difficult to keep up with posting interesting tidbits, but I keep plugging away and manage to get things that are of at least value to me published here at H I T. I am very appreciative of my encouraging and faithful readers who share more with me than I can ever imagine sharing with them. My RSS reader is full of great content every day and with this busy life I find myself unable to keep up with that either! It is time to simplify a bit, reorganize, and focus. Thanks again to all who come this way from time to time, and may peace be unto you all forever.