Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teachers as Architects - Reshaping the Classroom


I've been reading with interest what George Siemens (Via Joe Evans) has to say and we already know. However, it is always reinforcing to listen to what we feel is happening, but still don't grasp how to tackle with the new realities. In the binational school I work for, we've been in the process of incorporating some minimalist changes in relation to Ed Tech for the past few year mainly because of a small group of educators-believers-dreamers and because there's a crowd who wants to move along, but just don't know how. Right now, it seems that the changes are taking a new dimension, from micro to leaps. As an Ed Tech supporter, I feel that more than the technological aspects being integrated into our lesson plans we need to ask ourselves why, when and how. Most of all, we need to be aware of the new affordances change brings along. We need to question how the relationship between learning/teaching has been taking new dimensions. We need to understand what new skills we, as educators, should master and pass it on. We need to be aware of the power of online communities to help us thrive and still rely on the good old teachers' room chat.

Our reality is certainly augmented by all the tech possibilities around us and our learners, but the big question is still humming in our minds: How can we amplify our educational experience through these new means we have at the tip of our fingers? How can we give up control and still provide a learning environment in which WE feel comfortable, energized and not worn out, stressed, pressured?

If we start understanding the key new roles educators will be playing in the very near future (for a very few, not future, but present), then we might be able to meaningfully reshape our classroom to profit from the distributed construction of knowledge. George Siemens again gives us some clues in his post Teaching in Social and Technological Networks:

The following are roles teacher play in networked learning environments:

1. Amplifying
2. Curating
3. Wayfinding and socially-driven sensemaking
4. Aggregating
5. Filtering
6. Modelling
7. Persistent presence

Every educator should understand these concepts/skills and add to the list his own set of personal skills to successfully support learning outcomes that make sense to them and to their learners.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Join #edchats

There are many educators and people in general who think Twitter is just for nonsense personal types of things. However, I must say that since 2007, it has provided me with insights, connections, resources that go much beyond "in the bathroom", "at the airport", "at home" types of prepositional tweets.

If you start following the right tribe of your interest, magic is likely to occur. I'd say, professional magic. If you don't know where to start, a while ago, I invested some time to create a page with the basics of Twitter for educators that might give you a boost in this microcosmus of possibilities. Access http://twittering.wikispaces.com/

Well, all that to invite you to join twitter conversations using the hashtag #edchat. Though Twitter is meant to be an asynchronous tool, there's always a nice twist people imagine, mainly educators! A group of educators decided for a specific date and time for these educational discussions in Twitter, and now it became a live feast. For all the details on what a hashtag is, how it works, and how you can participate in the Tuesdays #edchats, take a look at: http://teacherbootcamp.edublogs.org/2009/08/18/edchat-join-the-conversation/

Your tweetlife will never be the same...