Thursday, June 30, 2011

Summer Learning

Summer vacations are prime learning time.  I can leisurely explore ideas, test new tools and read books I never have time to truly sink my teeth into during the school year.  Of course I do all that good "summer stuff" like biking, roller blading, Spring cleaning (I hate cleaning) and just hanging out, but I always set aside a special project (or two) for my prime time learning.

Daryl and Adora Svitak at LCEEQ Montreal
This summer I have my sights set on two cool events; one is known and the other is a mystery.  The former is Alan November's  BLC (Building Learning Communities) 2011 conference in Boston.  Last year's was great!  It is such a thrill to meet, in the flesh, people whose tweets and blog posts are a regular part of your week.  I met Adora Svitak there (and again this February when she came to LCEEQ in Montreal).  I was completely awed by Michael Wesch.  He was engaging, authentic and completely honest.  (You can listen to his keynote, thanks to Alan November's efforts on Vimeo.)  Of course there were other great presenters, like Dean Shareski, Darren Kuropatwa (click for his presentation slides) and Brad Ovenell Carter.

The other conference, though it's not really a conference but more like a gathering, will assembly Canadian educators who work for change at the grass roots level.  This unusual education summit is not happening in one of our fabulous cities but in Algonquin Park in Northern Ontario.  The site looks fabulous and the people attending will surely be committed educators, such as yourself!  It's called  UnPlug'd and just the idea of being able to hang out with other teachers/thinkers/change agents, under the pines and in a canoe is really exciting.  When I shared this with a friend recently, he said, "You, unplugged? Impossible!"  We might be off-the-grid and so unplugged (temporarily) from the web but we will be plugged into something else equally exciting - the desire to improve education for the sake of the kids.  It's always about learning and that always brings us (me) back to them.  

So I'm really hyped.  This summer will be good.  Maybe I'll see you in Boston?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Teaching is Sharing

This is the busiest time of the year for me, and for many of you as well.  We finish marking, report the results, attend grad ceremonies, say good bye to our nearly-adult grads, and for me, prepare for intensive days of professional development!  I began this year with two objectives: 1st- to enlist as many teachers onto the Campus wiki (PB works) as possible, and 2nd, to get teachers to SHARE!    As for the first objective, I will give myself a passing grade, but only barely.  We have achieved 52% user penetration on our campus wiki.  I know my boss would be thrilled but I can`t help but feel that with a wee bit more of enthusiasm, we could have easily enlisted a 75% or 80% usage.  As for the second, well, that is a 'work in progress', let's say.  So far, I am the only one who uses social bookmarking but after this week, I hope to change that.

If you have not yet seen Dean Shareski's keynote for the 2010 K-12 Online, then you must take the time to listen and think about what he says.  He pulls the audience into his message slowly with the expertise of a sexy Latin dancer and then, before you know it, your heart is palpitating as you rack your conscience with questions like, "Am I sharing enough?"  Shareski builds a solid argument that might convince those with the greatest "But they`ll steal my stuff!" phobias.

So I built a Prezi and armed it with Shareski magic and lots of images.  Here it is for you to enjoy and comment on, hopefully!  Time will tell if it helps me turn the tide.