Monday, March 31, 2008

Unable to raise both hands at the same time...

Ryan Bretag post in Raise Your Hands, how we are all just has poor as those committing educational malpractice if we do not share best practices, etc.

In a way he is right. I talked about what excites me, what we are doing in class, and over time, others stopped listening to me. i retreated into my room. But that is not the best way to create change for the future. I need to be a little more subversive.

So, now what? Follow some of his suggestions. Get others hooked in different ways - I am working on these.

What are his suggestions?

1. Dedicate a portion of your day to honing your professional practice
There are professional learning opportunities around every corner both locally and virtually. Observing your peers is a great way to learn and technology has made it quite easy. For instance, Ustream and other video technology make it so you can watch your peer teach live without having to be in the room or you can watch later if you are teaching during that time. Another great way to begin learning on a daily basis and one of my favorite ways of honing my professional practice is through exploring, reflecting, and responding to my RSS Reader on a daily basis — something David Jakes often mentions every professional educator should be able to for 15 minutes a day. Thus, your action item is to begin leveraging video technology to observe your peers and establish an RSS Reader to begin reading on a daily basis.

Note to self: Doing that but mostly responding to posts. Need to work on original creation of my own.

2. Establish a professional learning network
Technology affords us every opportunity to develop a virtual network that lives and breathes 24/7. What use to be limited to traditional face to face, MOOs and list-servs has evolved into expansive networks that offer an abundance of learning opportunities: Nings, Twitter, Ustream, Diigo, and virtual worlds like Second Life. Every single day, events by leading theorists and expert practitioners are taking place and open to anyone around the world. How often are you taking place in these? How often are you grabbing a colleague and helping them join in the learning? Thus, your action item is to begin establishing learning networks like Classroom 2.0.

Note to self: Due to family time, I stopped looking around the Ning. I know, I know, I would probably learn more, but I need to do what I need to do. This is my next step. after all I want to begin collaborations next year. How am i going to do that?

3. Establish and maintain a virtual professional learning space that fosters shared knowledge and resources
Technology has made it extremely simple to start and maintain a space. No longer does it take HTML knowledge to start a website and begin sharing your resources. A simple wiki allows one to create a powerful learning space allowing for shared knowledge and resources that is easy to update and to promote collaboration. Given the built-in discussion board, it also allows for the opportunity to discuss these resources so that everyone is growing from the collaboration around the ideas. The other piece of technology that makes sharing easy is social bookmarking. Thus, your action item is to create an account on a social bookmarking platform like Delicious or Diigo as well as create a wiki for your professional learning space and begin sharing today.

Note to self: Send out my wiki info more often. Starting Diigo tomorrow in an online class - could learn it myself but love to interact with others. I will probably like this better than delicious.

4. Make professional reflection and scholarly work a priority and make it public.
I am a firm believer that each professional should have a blog where your reflective practices and scholarly work are public. As Barth so clearly articulates in Turning Book Burners into Lifelong learners, “only when [teachers] disclose their learning will they fully foster lifelong learning in others”. By blogging about your practices, you are embracing the concept of growth, openly examining your assumptions and beliefs about teaching and learning, and acknowledging the value in collaboration with a glocal community. Thus, your action item is to create a blog and begin actively using it as to professionally reflect as well as use it to document action research.

Note to self: Try to change the use of blogging as a professional development that is actually counted.

5. Model professional learning for colleagues, students, and parents
Be proud of your explorations. Let it be known what you are doing, why you are doing it, and how others could join in with you. Talk about what you are learning! Being open doesn’t mean being vulnerable! Share your blog and wiki with pride! Focus on collaboration and networking with all you do and bring your colleagues along kicking and screaming if need be. Thus, your action item is to share your blog, wiki, social bookmarks, and learning experiences with as many people as possible in order to promote local collaboration and networking.

Note to self: Keep trying - you never know what makes someone finally come around!

Take a deep breath, create some plans, and go for it. retreating into the woodwork would be worse right now than not having changed at all. After all, our founding forefathers were out there and visible in the high treason that they pronounced. How better to make a change?


  1. Louise,
    I came to your blog via a slightly long detour involving checking bookmarks on Diigo and finding your post on Vicki Davis's blog.
    It is good to find another Science teacher out there! I was interested by what you mentioned about "each professional should have a blog where your reflective practices and scholarly work are public." I have just begun to incorporate some of those reflections onto my own blog, but I fear it may be getting tangled up with my use of blogging to provide alternative resources to my students. Would you recommend using two separate accounts for both? Thanks for a number of great posts so far!

  2. Thank you for finding my blog and commenting. It is nice to find a fellow science teacher making the jump to blogging (we seem to be discriminating and dinosaurs to change as a species!).

    I would recommend having two blogs. Despite my blogging, I still struggle to provide meaningful blogging opportunities to my students. That will change next year as I believe it is too important.

    I consider this blog to be my way of challenging my thoughts, assumptions, practices against what I am currently researching. Though shared with my administration and able to be found by my students, I really do not think it has a purpose for use with them. I hope that this answers your question.

    I would be interested in continuing discussions with you in regards to blogging with students as well as topics that interest you regarding science education and reform. It is nice to have another science teacher with which to discuss issues.

  3. I found this blog really very interesting a no of subjects mentioned.. Thanks for the great post