Saturday, February 23, 2008

Constructivism with Pete Seeger

This weekend I heard Pete Seeger interviewed on Bob Edwards Weekend (thanks to the folks at PRI and XM Radio).

During the interview, Seeger mentioned two anecdotes that were all about education (at least to me).

1. He talked about Woody Guthrie and the composition of "This Land is Your Land." He said that the song never ended up on the radio. It ended up being shared by teachers in schools with their students and within about 15 years, a whole generation of Americans knew the song "as if it was always there somehow."

I assume the story is true. It is, at least, plausible. I found it eye-opening for the vision it has of teachers.

2. Seeger talked about Participation. Here's what he said:

"Participation is the salvation of the human race. Participate in games, fun, storytelling. And when you are grown up, participate in education. Learn to ask questions. The most important thing in the world is to learn how to ask questions. Next, most important thing is to learn how to give a report (of what you've read or learned)... And, you learn how to work with other people."

(You can listen to the whole interview here).

Imagine, how that could be translated in your classroom, in your schools, in your communities, in your families, in your company.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

One from many or Many from many?

Scott McLeod recently published an interesting set of diagrams on his Dangerously Irrelevant blog (which is incredibly worth reading, by the way). He uses them to tell a story.

The story he wants to tell is about what seems to most effectively contribute to a creative economy.

I certainly agree with him, but saw them as telling another story as well. I saw them as depicting the ends of a spectrum of the relationships between teachers and students in a classroom. Does a teacher shape everything into "one right answer" or does he/she allow possibility to arise from these relationships in the classroom.

This dilemma is a very real one for me right now. The school year so far has been about living out the question: "What happens when students get to use their own voice?"

In most cases, my experience is that of a profound thing of beauty. The kinds of things that make teaching (and life) worth while.

I thank Scott for giving diagrammatic representation to my experience.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Buy this Book! Now!

I am three chapters into the new book, Reinventing Project-Based Learning by Suzie Boss and Jane Krauss. Here is a link to their blog.

It is essential reading for any one of us interested in bringing Web 2.0 and other technological tools into our classrooms and schools in order to give student opportunities for authentic learning.
You know how ideas sometime quietly get under your skin and just work away at you? Right now, I am being worked away at by finding opportunities to collaborate with colleagues in and out of the building, here and elsewhere.

You can get the book via Amazon or ISTE.

Let me know what you think.