Friday, February 8, 2008

November in February: District Tech Day a Big Success

Dear Mr Alan November:

Thank you so much for infusing excitement amongst us about the possibilities for technology in relation to teaching and learning. Although the day leaves me reeling with the un-learning we'll have to do, un-learn we must! You left us with so much to think about ... my boomerangs, skype, global voice, podcasting, screencasting, iPod learning, jing,,, epals, Google Custom Search, and more that I missed as I felt a need to see what else there was going on during the day ... well, I am struck by your profound use of the quote, "The past is over"!

I am compelled to find the youtube clip, Shift Happens. I need to see if I can make a screencast too. I want to explore how we can place greater value on the contributions children make to learning with classroom teams like your little podcasters and do more to encourage our teaching of invention and re-calibrating both teaching and learning experiences, like the education system in Singapore. I need to go back to see if I can read what they wrote in Turkey about the riots created by the Pope's speech on Islam. I want to read Dan Pink's A Whole New Mind which envisions an education system where music and art are valued in the learning experience. I want to see us stop answering questions and begin re-thinking the ways we have "bolted" technology onto our archaic learning structures.

Engaging our children means meeting them where they are and leading them to manage their learning, as you suggested, and to maximize their critical and creative capacities. It means moving beyond the bounds and the legacy of boundaries and checking the sense of entitlement against the global realities. It means attending to what kids do and know how to do. As you told us, the new role of the teacher will be to explore how everyone's knowledge can be shared with everyone. Heady stuff!

Thank you for your reference to school libraries as a place where this kind of learning often takes place in schools and for your work in support of teacher-librarians as key to technology integration with teaching and learning. Your Alan's Information Literacy Resources page and article entitled Designing Libraries: Learning for a Lifetime are also important resources to support our work and provide impetus for the much-needed re-visioning of our role in the learning equation. We need to accept the challenges and begin to engage in the transformation into 21st Century Teacher-librarians:

Beyond going to the library to do research--simply accessing existing published ork--students need to be engaged in producing content of their own. The growing trend toward online learning, more personalized instruction, and collaboration on a global scale also challenge librarians and media specialists, who are positioned to lead the way as technology adopters in their schools.


Click here for Alan's website, November Learning.

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