' I am entirely certain that twenty years from now we will look back at education as it is practiced in most schools today and wonder how we could have tolerated anything so primitive.' John W Gardner
For approximately 185 days a year from 7:45am until 4:15pm I belong to my district. During that time I have a variety of duties including teaching students face-t0-face as well as teaching students online. When I am not engaged in either one of those activities I certainly have no problem figuring out things to keep me busy. Not just sitting behind a computer pretending to be busy, but really doing things that matter. I do things like work on future classes that I would like to teach, tweak my online classes, and plan training camps for teacher. I’m also the go to girl when people have tech questions. During my office hours I have Tweetdeck open and I spend time reading through the stream on the lookout for any tidbits of information that might help me. There are times when I work with other teachers on different projects. Typically we have a GoogleDoc open and work on these projects as we have time during the day. I also read various educational blogs and once in a while I manage to hammer out a post during the day. The conversations that I have with teachers online have taught me so much and have helped me grow.
I think it is safe to say that 80% of the people I am friends with on Facebook I’m also connect with on Twitter. They are also members of some of the Nings I frequent and they write many of the blogs that I read. The one place where I WILL NOT go while I am on the clock is Facebook. While almost 200 of my friends on Facebook are educators most of the are not terribly active during the school day. From time to time they hop on Twitter, but I rarely see them actively engaging on Facebook.
I cannot count how many times I have heard educators say that Twitter is the most amazing source for self-directed professional development they have ever experienced. When was the last time you heard someone say that about Facebook? Exactly. Do you see where I am going with this?
Twitter, Nings, blogs, Facebook as well as other sites give us the ability to connect and share on a personal level as well as a professional one. While there are many educational pages and people who post educational content on Facebook, I don’t find nearly as much professional content on there as I find on other channels. While I have conversations that stray off the educational path on Twitter, they help me build stronger relationships with people that I consider to be my greatest sources of information. I would define this as professional networking. When I’m on Twitter my intent is to learn and share. When I am on Facebook my purpose is to catch up with friends and family and socialize. I think it is perfectly acceptable to ask my employer to provide me with time to explore and learn with educators. However, I do not expect them to pay me to chat with my friends and family during the school day. I cannot help but wonder how many hours are squandered by teachers who are just as obsessed with Facebook as their students are.
What are your thoughts? How do you use these different networking tools?
This morning on Facebook I posted the following comment:
Just read a report last night that says kids between 8-18 spend over 7 1/2 hours every day engaged with some sort of digital media. Why is it such a surprise that kids are bored as hell when their teachers do not integrate technology. We MUST meet them in their world in order to teach them.
The report to which I was referring was a Kaiser report which was released on January 20 that discusses trends in media use in kids between the ages of 8 to 18. My status update sparked a comment from a local educator who said it is an administrative decision to decided to what extent technology will be used. I responded by saying this:
I don’t agree necessarily that it is an administrative decision. Teachers have a choice to learn how to use technology in their lessons and classroom. Even if the only computer in the room is the teacher computer there are still skills that teachers can integrate. The vast majority of students have access to the Internet outside of school (even … See Morehere in Scottsbluff). Those who don’t have free access in computer labs at school or at the public library. It is no longer an acceptable excuse for teachers to say they don’t use tech in the classroom because kids don’t have access. It is an excuse to get out of learning new things. Just my opinion…
I noticed a follow up from the comment from the same teacher who said that teachers at the local high school are very tech savvy and they can do things like attach files to emails. Yes. You read that correctly. They can attach files to emails. Wow. I did not know what to say. I have asked for some clarification and specific examples of what the “tech savvy” teachers can actually do in case I misunderstood what she was trying to say. I will share that info as soon as I get it.
I don’t mean to come across as a tech snob or act like I am better than teachers who think the ability to attach files to an email is all it takes to be tech savvy. But COME ON!!! My question is do these teachers who are supposedly so “tech savvy” meet any of the NETS for Teachers? Do they even know what ISTE is? Do they have any clue how to prepare their students to meet the NETS for Students? (I realize there are other organizations that have tech standards, but my guess is they are all pretty much the same.) There are also NETS for Administrators, but that is one bear that I really don’t want to poke today (or ever if I can help it).
Are there really teachers out there who are so far out of touch that they don’t even realize the depths of their ignorance? Is it even possible that there are many who have never even heard of Web 2.0? I could not imagine living in a world where I was so out of touch.
Please leave a comment and tell me what you think it means to be tech savvy in 2010.
How exactly do you give a PLN to someone? Several suggestions have been made today, but the one you pick depends on your relationship with your administrator. Instead of signing up for a Twitter account for them I am going to offer to help them set up one up. I will have a profile picture of them ready to go and I will have some suggestions for their biography. I will also show them how to manage and share the information that they find valuable so they can become an asset to their PLN.
I have created this list of 50 educators with my two administrators in mind. I have chosen these educators based on how much I think my administrators will get out of following them. I have selected a mix of teachers, administrators, professors, educational technologists, and journalists. So here they are in no particular order:
I work up to the realization today that my summer is quickly coming to an end. I go back to school in two short weeks. I am sure the time will fly by, but I am OK with that. This year I am so excited to get back to school for so many reasons. I miss my coworkers and my students. Most of all I miss my routine!
The vast majority of you who are reading this post already know about the ISTE Newbie project. The project has a new face and a new goal this year. Last year so many of you supported the project because you were familiar with Richard Byrne, author of FreeTech4Teachers. This year Jason Schrage (@oswego98 on Twitter) will be blogging about his experiences as a classroom teacher. I hope that teachers who are new are apprehensive about using technology or who are simply new to the conversation will read his blog. The inherent problem of targeting this audience is that they are NOT on Twitter. I am counting on all of you in my PLN to help spread the word about this project in your district. As you go back to work please tell people about this project. Please subscribe to his blog and add the Newbie badge to your blog. I have also created some business cards that you can print and share.
I received an email from Jen Wagner yesterday. Jen has been part of my PLN for some time now. After reading my post on Ways to Support the ISTE Newbie Project Jen told me that she wanted to donate 10% of the earnings of her new book, Guessthewordle, to this project. I would like to encourage you to look into purchasing this book which. Doing so will allow you to support two members of your PLN at the same time. Guessthewordle can also be downloaded onto your iPod! At $5, it is a superb deal! If you are new to Wordle then check out their website.
Thanks again Jen for your generosity. You are helping prove once again that we really are all in this together.