Thursday, February 15, 2007

Random Thoughts

Between basketball games, parent conferences, secret Valentine's, and all sorts of other stuff I haven't had a lot of time to get much done. I'm the type of person who works on something, then works on something else, then comes back and finishes the 1st thing. Lately, there has been a whole lot of something elses all come up and no coming back to finish. My desk is looking like the bottom of a California mud slide with paper talus instead of mud. Its actually covered my LCD projector. I had a list of things to get done but it was buried about Tuesday and I haven't been able to excavate that far down. How does the shortest month of the year generate the most paperwork? This happens to me every Feb.
New thought. (It was the Feb. that triggered it.)We have finally had a true winter this year. It seems that for the last fifteen years we have a couple of very cold days maybe one bad storm and a few dustings and then a bunch of days of 60, 70, or 80 degree weather. It's a bad enough problem that when I went to buy a coat in November the best I could find was a lined windbreaker, nothing for a true winter. I wonder if the stores will stock something good next year. I have yet to see a true coat on any of my students this year either. There is one here at school but he is not in my class. Most of my kids just wear hoodies and whine about being cold. When I was in Jr. High I wore a parka and sweated to death half the time. Go figure.
Back to the orginal thought. I found my desk calender and changed it from Tuesday to Thursday and actually saw some desktop when I picked it up. Maybe there is hope. Time to put on the hard hat, bring in the backhoe, and get to work.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Musings on the Future

Where to start? I have read so many blogs lately that talk about David Warlick (2 cents Worth) and Web 2.0/School 2.0. So many ideas tumbling around without the peices coming together, they look and sound like they might fit, but I just can't seem to fit the right match to each peice of the jigsaw puzzle. Is it because I haven't been able to see all the peices? Since I do most of my reading at school some of the links, especially to social networking sites (myspace) and photo sites like flickr, are blocked so I don't really know what they do except in a general way. Or is it because the frame of my puzzle is my 'new' curriculum, which is really ten years old with new updated software. Could it be that the new Web tools don't truly fit well with the older ideas? Some of them, like wikis and blogs, I can see putting in to the curriculum like a animation cell going over a photograph. They add new meaning and a slightly different purpose to what was their before. Would this be enough? Are the curricular tasks and goals enough? A lot of what I read about preparing learners for the future makes me think, No this is not enough. I feel like I'm preparing them for the recent past, not for their future.
While I was comfortable and training people, students and staff, for operating with purchased software and using the Internet (what I have come to know now as the Read only Web 1.0) the rest of the world trotted on and is creating itself anew. Last October, a door opened and I glimpsed this new world I had never seen or thought about before. I like the taste of this new world, the feel I get whenever I try to test the waters. But this is taking me off into a new direction and my school district would prefer I follow the old path. If I choose to go the new direction I will have to take the curriculum and use the new tools to meet the goals. This sounds and looks doable until I start thinking about the obstacles that I have to find a way around; the filtering policy, the district's trend of everyone doing the same thing at the same time so that students that are transient don't have any difficulties stepping into a different classroom. Following the goals using the new tools would be a parallel path not an identical one. What to do? The district path is easier and comfortable, the new world, the world of Web 2.0, of online tools, of Creative Commons, feels and sounds enticing. I see the results of these tools where ever I look outside of school. Now that I know they exist I can spot them, they are no longer blurred images in the window as I drive by, unrecognized and unknown. I can see the new path and it seems to follow the Real world, the world outside of school better than the old path I was on. The powers that be have not looked through the door like I have, or they have glimpsed and continued on.
The peices keep moving over and around each other. I pick up one that looks like it will fit, but when I try it its close but something just doesn't let it match to the frame. I can't leave the frame there is no way that would work. How do I get these new peices to work the way I need to make them work. This is going to take a lot of time, thinking, and experimentation. I just can't stop thinking about the puzzle, I know the answer is there, I just need to find that key peice that links the puzzle frame to the Web 2.0 center. Where is it? What is it?