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Showing posts from April, 2009

Craigslist Killer improves Global Education

It’s true: The Craigslist Killer will improve education.Why?The simple answer: awareness of “what’s out there” will improve our students’ ability to discriminate sources, be safe web users and responsible internet contributors.Believe it or not, it all comes back to one essential question: How does peer pressure influence adolescent behavior?As my eighth grade students start to head into young-adulthood, they will be faced with decisions and issues, not unlike decisions and issues adolescents have always faced: What's my social standing?  
Am I popular?  
Who am I?
Do I fit in?
These questions certainly do pressure and guide students’ behaviors, and I am quite certain that as time goes on, students will continue to face similar issues, albeit some iteration of these questions.Generations change, but adolescent issues and behavior remain relatively constant.Regardless of it being 1959, 1989 or 2009, students need to be given the tools to be thoughtful, responsible young adults, and it …

The Audacity of the 21st Century

21st Century Learning...it's out there all over the educational landscape, and it's truly very exciting; I'm wondering - how do I guarantee content, so as not to lose the meat of what my students need to know.  You know, having students understand human nature, struggles, defeats and successes, like Edmund Burke said, "Those that don't know history are destined to repeat it."  Yikes!  I'd better ensure my students can function in the 21st century as a safe, responsible and meaningful contributor, but also know about history.  
This is why I am turning to Audacity - hopefully, it shall save the 21st century learner!  In a way that engages 14-year-olds to think, create and evaluate, Audacity has the, uh...audacity to provide students with a forum to think about historical concepts, ideas and people in a modern-day forum.  Setting the constructs to be age and developmentally appropriate is essential, but I'm hoping that this educational experiment be a po…

Kids will be Kids

Thanks to my wonderful friend KRabs and my new virtual colleague MagistraM (via Classroom 2.0), I've been inspired to update my blog reguarly, and gosh darnit, I'm going to succeed.  
Today my students had the option of creating a wiki, a Capzle, or a PowerPoint, and I closely watched who picked what option - because I think it says so much about a student - with regards to everything from risk-taking to learning style.  Overall, I think that students were pleased that I'd decided to give them a project-based final assessment for our unit on Islam as opposed to a good, old-fashioned paper and pencil test.  Seeing as the children had three tests this week, I saw this as a good opportunity for an alternative assessment.  I wanted to keep my standards high, challenge their thinking, give them the opportunity to create an internet based-product, and give them choice in the matter.  I believe I achieved all those things with my assessment.  Only having done one wiki with my stud…

Worldwide PLCs

I've decided that it is time to be regularly updating my blog, and not just with summer learning expeditions, but current ones as well.  This evening I spent some time with Steve Hargadon and others on Elluminate via LearnCentral.org, an incredible website that has the potential to create PLCs (professional learning communities) around the world in a virtual capacity.  LearnCentral hosts a sort of social network (i.e. Facebook) for educators, allowing them to connect on a professional level to discuss a topic that needs discussing...for example, middle school Social Studies.  Elluminate has hooked up with LearnCentral to allow members to host virtual sessions based on the topic of choice (it must be open to the public and recorded for archiving).  The potential for leveraging collective knowledge, expertise, and best practices in an easy-to-use forum is amazing.  Now, the mission is just to get the word out.  The idea has gotten me very excited; I've never before seen such a u…