I didn’t realize how sensitive I was to this much touted excuse for the lack of edtech integration in schools but I have reached my limit and it’s time set the record straight. Stop whining about having more training and support when what you really need is more time and a little guidance! What you really need is Shelley Paul.
Today I attended the GaETC. An annual conference pulling from all points Georgian and extending it’s reach via the edtech speaker bureau to include the likes of Steve Dembo, Discovery Education teacher-innovator and David Warlick blogger and edtech dialoguer extraordinaire, to name a few notables. The biggest name to grace the stage was Ron Clark. His energy and boundless enthusiasm for both learning and teaching make him a teacher’s teacher. He is a true icon for the new 21st century learning paradigm. Someday I hope to make the pilgrimage to his model inner city school.
So what does all that have to do with my perpetual snit? LOL! Keep listening…
I met a new teacher today and she echoed a sentiment I’ve had for some time. In short she wants people (her students) to take a challenging task and figure it out for themselves in a guided environment. It is in this spirit of empowerment that Shelley Paul has developed an online, wiki-based course called 23 Things. Her approach speaks to my concerns that people don’t need training they just need the time to do it themselves! The experience shouldn’t have anything to do with a talking head directing your every mouse move like some cosmic puppeteer. Her approach, which I love and hope to embrace in every aspect of my teaching is: Introduction, Discovery, Production, and Reflection and then personalized Feedback. The most important component of her approach is feedback in the form of blog comments. Each student logs their progress throughout the course using their own professional development blog.
Shelley subscribes to all of the RSS feeds and then she responds as the posts accrue in her Google Reader. (She is a huge Google docs and Firefox fan like me). Shelley’s experience reading about student successes and struggles with their task assignments has put her on a personal path to enlightenment. She can visualize the learning process. In a word, rewarding. Teachers are so fortunate when we learn from our students. And, when we honor their work with personalized feedback, we reap the benefits.
So let me recap. In brief, we don’t need training and support, we need time and guidance. Where can we get the time? That is a rant for another day!