What a great start to the New Year! I woke up to beautiful snow (something we get only a few times a year here in Placerville, CA) and my morning edition of The nwp Daily, full of thought provoking posts, Tweets, and links for stepping into 2011.
The first link I clicked on took me to Troy Hicks’ Summarizing of Our Reports from Cyberspace. Attending the NWP / NCTE Annual Conference was just not in my budget this year, so I tried to attend virtually, which proved to be a challenge. For example, following the Twitter stream of #nwp10 and #ncte10, proved to be a bad idea. With the 140 character limit, session-goers tended to Tweet what a great session I was missing – something I already realized. And one session I really, really wanted to attend was Troy, Bud Hunt, and Sara Kjader’s Three Reports from Cyberspace workshop.
But thanks to Bud’s video editing and Troy’s post, this morning I was able to click on the YouTube link and virtually attend Sara’s excellent part of the threesome’s workshop – Assessment in the context of digital teaching and learning. There is something about viewing a presentation “live” that is simply more impactful than reading about the session. I’m starting the year with a firm resolution to think more deeply about assessment: assessment of learning; assessment for learning, and, more important, assessment as learning.
Also in The nwp Daily was Paul Allison’s link to a post by one of his 8th graders – Speak with the Heart, an invitation for other students to collaborate on a multimodal piece that will be hosted on the Voices from the Gulf project. I’m imagining this project will fit Sara’s description of a “messy work in progress…making it authentic…making it ‘commentable.'” And “keeping it real,” to quote Paul’s take on teaching and learning in general. And such a good use of cyberspace!
Right up there with my New Year’s resolution to get a better handle on assessment in a digital age is my resolution
to delve more into technology as a tool for English Language Learners. I am fortunate, in my current position as technology integration specialist, to support K-12 teachers with their technology questions, concerns, and visions. Sure, I still visit classrooms that are having “test scrimmage” or “power down days,” but I also, on a very regular basis, witness powerful teaching and learning. Heading into 2011, my reports from cyberspace will include sharing some of the best practices and tools for ELLs…starting with the Stories from the Heart project – with a shout out to Audacity.
Looking forward to a year of sharing, collaboration, learning, and attending some great conferences – in real time and/or virtually;-)
Over the past few weeks, I’ve watched the lightning-speed evolution of some amazing venues for connecting students in project-based explorations of the BP oil spill. The combination of Suzie Boss’s PBL Camp (via Edutopia) and Paul Allison’s Voices on the Gulf site (via the Teachers Teaching Teachers community and the National Writing Project) has me pretty excited about starting the new school year.
From the the PBL Camp wiki and the Twitter and Elluminate sessions, along with the Teachers Teaching Teachers weekly Skypecasts, and few Google searches, I’ve gleaned some great resources to help jump start classroom discussions, research, and projects on the oil spill:
Videos and Images
Animals on the Gulf
In the News
Starting today, I’ll be putting some time and energy into the Voices on the Gulf project. I’ve learned never to say “no” to an invitation to work with Paul Allison, Chris Sloan, and Kevin Hodgson. Over the past five years, I’ve connected teachers in my district and region to a number of innovative, technology-enhanced NWP projects – always with the same result: students are empowered by opportunities to connect with students in other locations around issues they genuinely care about.
If you are looking for ways to connect with other teachers and classrooms around specific or general topics, issues, and questions surrounding the oil spill, I encourage you to join the Voices on the Gulf community. I’ll be working mainly with the Our Voices (K-6) channel for Voices on the Gulf, and I already know it will rock your students’ worlds because I’m teaming with Kevin Hodgson, whose expertise in teaching the new writing continues to inspire – and push (in a good way) – all who work with him.
And if you have additional oil spill resources to add to those I’ve posted, please jump in with a comment!