In many ways, I can’t imagine there has been a more amazing time to learn.
I recently read this guest post in the New York Times by Will Richardson. The headline is taken from this post. This is the week for our annual school conference where Will Richardson has been the keynote speaker twice. This year too we have a great number of educators who attend educational conferences and who are active in the social media world, contributing as leaders of workshops and keynotes. Discussing these issues we see that we still need to engage more educators. We need to convince fellow teachers that there are so many amazing opportunities in the classroom these days. I will repeat the 3 starting points here:
1. Thin the Walls of Your Classroom
Using tools like Skype, Google hangouts, Google docs and more, teachers are taking advantage of all of the experts and professionals and artists and other passionate learners who are out there online to inform and educate. Connect with another teacher and start there. Let the students exchange ideas and start from there! This is the latest project my class is working on: Alaska natives!
2. Talk to Strangers
Learning today is not just about connecting your students to other classrooms or experts that you find; it is about teaching them to make their own connections as well. The best place to start? I would have to say Twitter at this point. While it may seem at times that Twitter is the Wild West of nonsense and thoughtlessness, it can be almost the exact opposite if you know where to look.
3. Be Transparent
We need to model the types of skills and dispositions that our students will need in order to take advantage of all of the abundance at their fingertips. That includes going out and connecting with others, but it also means sharing our own work, learning transparently and actively participating in online spaces where our students can find us. If you are sharing your work and ideas online, you develop that very necessary lens for bringing the Web to your classroom in safe, effective and ethical ways. In this new world of abundance, our students will have to be adept at knowing what and what not to share.
I hope more teachers will see the benefit after this year’s conference! Wish me luck!