Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Tech Tapas

We'll be serving up some tech tapas to Ohio's English language arts supervisors during Thursday's fall meeting at the Ohio Resource Center. Tapas are appetizers, designed to encourage conversation. Legend has it that originally tapas were salty, to provoke thirst. We're hoping that some of the tech tapas served will make our colleagues thirsty to learn more.

On the menu board (all FREE or very low cost)
Delicious: share you bookmarks, browse others by friend or topic
Voicethread: interactive way to teach with images and audio
Wallwisher: collect feedback
Jing: capture whatever's on your screen
Skype: use free audio and video conferencing
Twitter:  microblog (keepin' it concise) to learn, share, network
Ning: network securely and share resources
Google Docs: collaborate on all kinds of documents shorten those long URLs
Blogspot: blog from an easy-to-us template
Animoto: create video from your images

Buen Provecho!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

21C Skills for the Arts: Customizing to Our Circumstances

"If you're doing a thing that you're passionate about, time takes a different turn entirely," said Sir Ken Robinson in his 2010 TED Talk. We'll begin our K-8 Fine Arts professional learning day with Robinson's talk, "Bring on the Learning Revolution!"

Robinson urges us to examine what we take for granted and to consider what we need to leave behind to teach and learn in a new century. He invites us to change our metaphor of education from an industrial model (one size for all) to an agricultural one (organic and adapting). He goes on to talk about customizing to our circumstances, quoting Lincoln: "Let us not rise to the occasion. Rather, let us rise with the occasion."

Rising with the occasion, our K-5 Fine Arts teachers began their 21C Skills conversation* on our September 1 professional learning day. We used the Skills Map for the Arts created by P21, Partnership for 21st Century Skills. We'll be joined September 24 by our middle school arts teachers as we continue our exploration.

As we gather again on Friday we will focus on two of Robinson's themes: sharing our talents and collaborating on lessons that customize to our circumstances.

We'll enjoy the morning with our teacher showcase—sharing our diversity of talent. On deck so far: Tim Kloth will debut his newly completed composition, Mark Messerly will play a piece from his Thursday night gig at Grammers, Jennifer Witsken will share her pattern designs for knitting, and Pam Hall will show her favorite jewelry creations.

Then we'll follow Robinson's second charge—to customize to our circumstances. We'll play, experiment, innovate, and adapt to redesign a current lesson plan or unit, customizing with two or more 21C Skills:
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication
  • Collaboration
  • Creativity
  • Innovation
  • Information Literacy
  • Media Literacy
  • Information, Communications, and Technology Literacy
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self-Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility
We'll end the day collaborating and sharing our unit makeovers. Stay tuned for a showcase of lessons!
*About 21C Skills and our September 1 Arts conversation, what's the word? See for yourself:

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Not Your Granny's Open House

Amelia Middle School's 7th and 8th grade open house let parents meets their students' teachers and their classrooms' technology tools. Parents got a chance to sign in on interactive white boards and practice texting responses to teachers' questions. Classes across the district and across the country adapt to 21st Century teaching and learning. Take a look!