Friday, September 14, 2007

Does this ring a bell? Stuff from Edutopia

Two things really hit me as I was reading through the recent issue of Edutopia.

The first was an editorial discussing the opportunity this editor sees in what's happening in education. He is responding to this summer's National Educational Computing Conference (NECC).

The educational community is filled with innovative thinkers, but sometimes you have to look at the margins to find them. Or just go upstairs.

While the sprawling show hummed below, some of the nation's best edubloggers were popping in and out of the Bloggers Cafe, on Level Two of the World Congress Center. It was a beehive, with dozens of bloggers rapidly exchanging ideas, and even having a few laughs.

Many of the nation's top edubloggers were there: David Warlick, Vicki Davis, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beech, Will Richardson (full disclosure: he's on our advisory board), David Jakes, Joyce Valenza -- too many to mention, really. Most arrived a day early to take part in an edubloggers' "unconference," where many met face-to-face for the first time. And nearly all agreed that the greatest energy and excitement of NECC came from the Bloggers Cafe, and the multiuser Skype conversations during sessions.To many, the main event became a sideshow.

Said Richardson, "That model of someone standing on a stage talking for an hour paled as compared to just having a conversation. The whole experience has challenged my thinking a great deal." Editor's Note: Edubloggers Innovate | Edutopia
Now, imagine that Richardson was talking about us and our students in our classrooms and read the quote again:

"That model of someone standing on a stage talking for an hour paled as compared to just having a conversation."

Later in the issue, there was an article that talked about an innovative program in rural Alaska, where students grade levels were disbanded and students worked on an individualized program to complete the district's 1000 standards.

Even as globalization and media propel our culture -- and our classrooms -- toward modes of production that are bigger, faster, and more alike, Chugach has refocused on an approach to education that is smaller, personalized, and variably paced. As Douglas Penn, the districtwide principal, explains, "Our kids graduate when they're ready. We're not pumping them out the door with Ds on their diplomas." Northern Lights: These Schools Literally Leave No Child Behind | Edutopia

So, here is one answer to the "opportunity" of our current situation in education.
What's yours?
What's mine?

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1 comment:

Christine said...

Thanks for inviting me to contribute on this blog, Gerald. It's a great way to exchange ideas about our project! The more I think about the ownership focus of our inquiry, the more I believe a central metaphor is voice and conversation. That's why your earlier post about voicethread is so interesting. I am thinking about the multiple voices in your classroom, all appropriating content knowledge together and through different media, and wondering how we will capture and represent some of the amazing learning opportunities inherent in the complexity of that design ... more to think and say and think. Be in touch soon - hopefully, will see you next week!