Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Must-Have Guide to Facebook for Teachers

Someone in my PLN, Jackie Gerstein, shared a post on EduDemic (via the Discovery Educator Network Diigo group) that included "A Teacher's Guide to Using Facebook" by Bernadette Rego.  She's licensed it with Creative Commons 3.0, to allow others to use and share it.  Thanks, Bernadette!  She's included some helpful tips that I think ALL teachers should read, even if they don't currently use Facebook.   It's 21 pages, but don't let that scare you; it won't take more than 10 min to read. 
Teacher's Guide to Using Facebook (Read Fullscreen)

Monday, June 14, 2010

Teacher of the Year

I read an article in eSchool News over the weekend about the newly named National Teacher of the Year, Sarah Brown Wessling.  She is a high school English teacher from Iowa who uses Facebook as part of her instructional practices.  She believes that instruction should be learner-centered.  She provides feedback to students by creating individualized podcasts.  Her students write songs, public service announcements, and digital videos.  Learning is active in her classroom and the students are never bored.

Ms. Wessling recognizes that students construct knowledge when it is relevant to them, when they have a real zuthentic purpose, ad when they have an audience that gives them context.

In a blog entry posted on the White House web site, she says that her students would say, "We need 21st century teachers, not just adults teaching in the 21st century."  She's right on!  It's fantastic that the folks who determine the Teacher of the Year winners are considering the importance of technology and 21st century skills.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Thinkfinity Widget

I just discovered a Thinkfinity widget that will be useful to teachers as they look for electronic resources that align to their curriculum.  I just added it to the column on the right.  Try it out!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Are We Delivering a Fast Food Education?

Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson delivered a speech for TED Talks: Ideas worth spreading.  I have watched his famous TED speech from 2006 a few times, and was anxious to hear what he has to say in 2010.   He challenges the way we're educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity. 

Here's the text from my favorite part:
I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process, it's an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development; all you can do, like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.

It's about customizing to your circumstances, and personalizing education to the people you're actually teaching. And doing that, I think is the answer to the future because it's not about scaling a new solution; it's about creating a movement in education in which people develop their own solutions, but with external support based on a personalized curriculum.