Thursday, July 10, 2008

eponderings part 1

Today I sit at my computer attempting to write my first blog. My main goal is to improve my writing and share thoughts about teaching and learning.

This year I have read an amazing amount of opinions, views and ideas as I have ventured into social networking. Most I have agreed with and some I do not. But as a result of all my exploration on the web I have deduced that I can waste a lot of time looking and playing and not actually doing anything productive.

I have made use of Twitter (bobbartley), Diigo (bobbartley), ning, (bobbartley), as well as google reader to keep in touch with the many interesting and novel blogs I have found.

However, now I must try to focus on what it is I have learned over the past six months and narrow down what it is that I really want to achieve. Higher order thinking, collaboration, communication, hyper connectivity and networking are a few words buzzing around in my head lately but mean nothing if not productive and tool based.

In the end, I want to guide the children in my class to be more prepared for change, after all that is the only constant.

So I still sit here pondering. I think that technology is one vehicle to help achieve this. Children already use technology to communicate, explore and play. It needs to be entwined in learning so that it relates to the real world that children live and play in.

I hope, by recording what I have to say I will at least have more focus in what it is I wish to achieve and how I am going to go about it.

I feel I currently have a few barriers. The current education department that I work for is a very big brother and likes to rule with an iron fist. Our internet filters are extremely tight and I find this extremely restrictive. For example, I want to develop my own ning social network, where children can learn how to use the internet appropriately, in a closed environment but ning is blocked by current filters. Other blocked examples include edublogs, animoto (very cool video creation site), wetpaint and google docs.

My next project will be to experiment with Adobe Connect , which looks very cool for online collaboration. This appears not to be blocked yet. Another cool looking project is webon an easy way to make a mark on the web.

Currently I am teaching in Prep (5-6 year olds) a lot of these tools are not that useful on prep and there is no need to be innovative for the sake of being innovative. But the future looks bright.

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